God bless Texas

I leave the country for a few weeks, and science education falls apart.

That’s not quite fair: the impending destruction of Texas’ science standards has loomed for quite some time. But the first meetings regarding the construction of the new curriculum have taken place, and the dame should be complete by the end of the summer.

At issue, of course, is the push by the Board of Education chair Don McLeroy to teach the “strenghts and weaknesses” of evolution. This, of course, is another “academic freedom”-esque smoke screen for shoehorning “Goddidit” arguments into science classrooms. The Austin Chronicle has an excellent opinion piece documenting McLeroy’s inanity; trust me, read it right now.

My uncle who lives in Houston tried to convince me that I should teach in Texas (instead of in Washington, where I will begin teaching in September.) Indeed, Texas compensates teachers much more generously than Washington, and the Houston area is beautiful by all accounts. But I think I would need a powerful martyr complex to begin my career in a state whose board of education is headed by a creationist lackwit. Severe kudos and mad props to all science teachers who give evolution the central treatment it deserves.

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7 Responses to “God bless Texas”

  1. Lottie Says:

    I live in Texas and my son will be starting middle school next month. This kind of thing concerns me deeply. Already, I do not allow him to attend the abstinence only “education” classes because I don’t want him being confused by the anti-science garbage (and thinly-veiled religious dogma) these programs promote. Now this.

    I’m seriously considering leaving the state because of its utter contempt for science and its determination to force religion on my child through the public school sytem. Besides Washington, would you be able to recommend any other states?

  2. soulbiscuit Says:

    Hi Lottie!

    Abstinence only? Grrrr!

    I don’t really know which states are the friendliest on science, unfortunately. I’m just a novice science teacher. I know that there are many organizations in Washington devoted to quality science education, and no groups of any influence fighting to force garbage into the classroom. I’m sure the other west coast states are probably similar.

    I never had any trouble in my home state of Montana either, though nutjob religious groups abound there and one local school board tried to exclude evolution outright a few years ago. Otherwise I don’t know. I’m not even sure how you would research something like that. There may be an important topic here!

  3. Lottie Says:

    Thanks!

    Maybe it won’t be so bad since he was accepted into the S.T.E.M program in our district. Are you familiar with it at all?

    Still, I’d like to live somewhere that’s not overrun with religious fundamentalists. And no matter what, I will not consent for him to attend the abstinence only programs. Every time I receive a consent form, I not only check “not allowed”, I also include a letter explaining exactly why.

    But I don’t mean to hijack this with all the abstinence talk. It’s just something of a pet topic for me.

    Thanks for information!

  4. Timotheus Says:

    Lottie,

    How is an “Abstinence Only” program anti-science?

    Every single in-depth and scientific study shows it to be 100% accurate. There has only been one single exception in all history.

    Timotheus

  5. soulbiscuit Says:

    “How is an “Abstinence Only” program anti-science?”

    A few years ago, the Surgeon General was peeved because Bush’s administration tried to censor a report that was critical of abstinence-only education. The report stated that abstinence-only education does not reduce teen pregnancy or STD’s.

    Such censorship of scientific reports that don’t jive with Bush policy are commonplace. Check the website of the Union of Concerned Scientists for more information.

    “Every single in-depth and scientific study shows it to be 100% accurate. There has only been one single exception in all history.”

    That statement is self-contradictory. It also contradicts my statement above, unless you want me to believe that the Surgeon General’s report is the only report ever to question the effectiveness of abstinence-only education.

  6. Lottie Says:

    Tim:

    Abstinence only programs also lie about the effectiveness of condoms and restrict or completely withhold other medical and health information relevant to sex education.

    I’m not going to hijack this discussion by getting on an abstinence only soap box, but I have written several very detailed posts about how it’s anti-science and even potentially dangerous, if you’re really interested. You know where to find it.

  7. soulbiscuit Says:

    How is an “Abstinence Only” program anti-science?

    Every single in-depth and scientific study shows it to be 100% accurate. There has only been one single exception in all history.

    Well, it took me about 15 months, but I finally got the joke. Sorry to be so thick, Timotheus!

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