Now, others might point out that having the phrase “strengths and weaknesses” in the standards does not mean that teachers will be tossing ideas about creationism around willy-nilly. True. However, having the phrase “strengths and weaknesses” in the science TEKS is dangerous regardless. This phrase itself is unscientific and gives students false ideas about the very nature of science. McLeroy points out that this phrase has been part of the standards for several years and was uncontroversial until recently. That’s not really the case. There have been many people who have wanted that phrase removed for YEARS. (Recall that several months ago state board of education member Barbara Cargill wrote an editorial in which she stated that the phrase had served Texas students well for years. When I emailed and asked her to explain this statement, she never replied.)Ah Ha! Someone else that wrote Barbara Cargill with a hard question that never got an answer. And I bet we never will. Her response to why we should oppose such language such as "strengths and weaknesses" is smack on the money:
1. These standards give students a false idea that there is a scientific controversy over evolution. There is not.As long as charlatans like McLeroy can peddle the "teach the controversy" garbage, they will continue to gain converts who don't have the education to know that these arguments are garbage.
2. The phrase “strengths and weaknesses” gives a false idea about the very nature of science.
3. This approach could potentially lead to costly lawsuits when teachers use the standards to promote alternative theories in class like creationism (or, vice versa, teachers could potentially be accused of not adequately covering the “weaknesses” part of the clause).
4. Potential damage to the educational system, reputation, and economic growth of our great state.
5. Potential damage to the educational system, reputation, and economic growth of our COUNTRY (recall that Texas is one of the largest purchasers of textbooks, so what Texas decides largely impacts the rest of the nation).