Texas delays decision on offering science degree at creation college

Texas delays decision on offering science degree at creation college
Dallas: School needs state OK to offer master's in science education
By HOLLY K. HACKER / The Dallas Morning News - 1/15/2008 - original
A Bible-based group that wants to train science teachers in Texas has been given more time to prepare its proposal so it can tackle concerns raised by state education officials.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board said Tuesday that it will wait until April to decide whether the Institute for Creation Research can offer an online master's degree in science education. The board was supposed to take up the issue next week.

In November, a team of educators and coordinating board officials visited the institute's graduate school in Dallas and concluded that it offered a standard science education curriculum. In December, an advisory council recommended that the board approve the institute's application.

Since then, some science advocates have blasted the institute's plan, saying it's an attempt to teach creationism (the theory that a supreme being created the Earth and forms of life) over evolution (the theory that humans evolved from lower forms of life) in Texas schools.

Last week, the state's higher education commissioner, Raymund Paredes, met with institute officials. He asked for more information about the institute's science and education coursework "to ensure that the ... [institute] is indeed teaching at a graduate level," the institute said Tuesday in a written statement. So, school officials asked for more time to address the concerns.

Dr. Paredes has declined to comment on what was discussed at the meeting or on his views on the matter. A spokeswoman said he is reviewing the proposal.

The institute's graduate school has granted degrees in California since 1981. It moved to Dallas last year.

According to its Web site, "ICR maintains that scientific creationism should be taught along with the scientific aspects of evolutionism in tax-supported institutions, and that both scientific and Biblical creationism should be taught in Christian schools."