Texas' Board of Education to hear testimony on teaching evolution

Texas' Board of Education to hear testimony on teaching evolution
By TERRENCE STUTZ / The Dallas Morning News - 1/21/09 - original
AUSTIN – Nearing a crucial vote on the issue, State Board of Education members will convene another public hearing today on proposed science curriculum standards that will dictate how evolution should be covered in science classes in Texas.

Among those expected to testify are science teachers, college professors, parents and various groups hoping to influence the board on proposed language that could require teachers and textbooks to cover both strengths and weaknesses of Charles Darwin’s theory of how humans and other life forms evolved.

Curriculum review committees made up of science teachers and academics recommended last year that the state scrap its long-standing requirement that strengths and weaknesses of all scientific theories – notably evolution – be covered in science classes.

One panel that drafted standards for biology classes proposed additional language that would keep supernatural and religious-based concepts such as creationism – the biblical explanation of how humans evolved – out of those classes.

But social conservatives on the state board and their allies – including evolution critics - want to preserve the requirement in the curriculum standards established by the board. A preliminary board vote is scheduled for Thursday.

The curriculum standards will spell out what is taught in science classes in all elementary and secondary schools as well as providing the material for state tests and textbooks. The standards will remain in place for a decade after their approval by the state board.