I’ll post updates and reminders early next year, but I wanted toÂ give you all a heads up on thisÂ before the holidays get into full swing and we’re unable to do anything but wallow in peristaltic bliss and aÂ lingering alcohol buzz.
As I mentioned here last week, the pro-science turnout at the November 19th Texas Board of EducationÂ meeting concerning theÂ standards for scienceÂ educationÂ was a great success. Nearly 100 people testified over a six and a half hour period in favor of sound science education and against teaching the “weaknesses” of evolution. Only one person testifying at the board meeting was in line with the creationist board members’ views.
But there is yet more to be done.
Steven Newton and Eugenie C. Scott of the National Center for Science Education tell us:
The upcomingÂ [Texas State Board of Education]Â meeting on January 22-23, 2009 will be the last opportunity for public comment before the new science TEKS are adopted in March 2009. The TEKS will be in place for the next 10 years.
Because of textbook publishing constraints, it’s imperative for the entire US that Texas adopt a sound science curriculum.
Unfortunately, thereÂ seems to beÂ a bit of a problem brewing already. Don McLeroy, the Chairman of the Board and anti-evolutionist, plans to limit public testimony at the January meeting to just four hours.
Says the Texas Freedom Network:
Today board Chairman Don McLeroy, R-Bryan, announced that testimony at the January 21 hearing will be limited to four hours â€” 8 a.m. to noon. Thatâ€™s it. If folks are still waiting to testify at noon, we guess, then thatâ€™s just too bad for them.
Creationists who control the board have argued that teaching students arguments against evolution is simply a matter of academic freedom.Â Apparently, however, limiting public discussion about the wisdom of such a policy is just fine with them.
One of the main expert witnesses at the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District federal court case, Dr. Barbara Forrest,Â spoke recently at SMU about the importance of this issue. You can see the video of her talk here.Â (The videoÂ isÂ right aroundÂ an hour long, and covers just about all you need to know about the subject.)
But if all voices are not heard, will the Board do the right thing? Can one member limit the time of testimony?
Provisions 2.10(a)(1) and (3) of the SBOE Operating Rules state that the “board shall provide opportunity for public testimony at regular committee meetings” and that the “chair shall assure that members of the public with differing viewpoints have reasonable access to address the board.”
We at Skepchick, along with NCSE, Texas Freedom Network, and Texas Citizens for Science, encourage all Texans to email [email protected] to let the school board members know that you wish to have the right to speak and participate in this democratic process, regardless of an arbitrary cutoff set unilaterally by the Chairman. And please encourage other interested people to do likewise.
For more information on Texas evolution education issues, please visit: