Added June 6, 2008:
- NY Times: Opponents of Evolution Adopting a New Strategy
- Steven Schafersman, President, Texas Citizens for Science: Critical Review that covers developments reported in the NY Times article and the article (linked below) by Gary Scharer, as well as reaction by Intelligent Design proponents.
A story by Gary Scharrer for the San Antonio Express-News reports on the conflict shaping up over revision of the science standards in Texas. Quoting board Vice Chairman David Bradley, R-Beaumont, Scharrer reports:
Bradley and the board majority faulted English teachers for forcing too much of their own ideas into a proposal the board had tentatively approved two months earlier. That’s why board members had to salvage a final document with a last-hour cut and paste job, he said.
“I don’t think this will happen again because they got spanked,” Bradley said. “Science teachers should work with the board on their process and not try to do an end run around this elected body and steal the process.”
The story is well worth reading for its information on the controversy over teaching about evolution — which has become a major topic on this blog. The main concern of this blog, however, is curriculum; and in this post I want to highlight a conflict in views over how teachers, scientists (or experts in the relevant disciplines), and politically elected school board members should be involved in curriculum decision making.
Bradley was referring to teachers generally when he said they won’t do it again because they got spanked for what they did with the English / Language Arts standards; so presumable they’ve learned their lesson, and won’t try to unduly interfere with the politically dictated process when it comes to the science standards later this year.
A conflicting view is reported coming from David Hillis, identified as “a distinguished biology professor at the University of Texas at Austin,” who is quoted saying:
We should rely on scientists to establish the science standards, not non-experts with a particular religious or political agenda to promote.
It is unclear what role, if any, science teachers (as differentiated from scientists) should have in Hillis’s view of how these things ought to be done.
Previous posts on the ELA standards controversy: