Texas Science Proposal Omits Creationism

A draft curriculum proposal for Texas’s public school science standards leaves out creationist code language, pleasing scientists and watchdog groups, including Americans United.

The debate over the standards has been ongoing for several months, with Religious Right forces strongly pushing curriculum that includes language allowing educators to teach creationism in the classroom.

Earlier versions of the proposed curriculum required students to learn the “strengths and weaknesses” of scientific theories, a phrase used by creationists to bring religion into public education and undercut science education.

In the draft proposal, the “strengths and weaknesses” language has been removed. In addition, the definition for “science” has been changed to reflect a meaning provided by the National Academy of Sciences.

“The old standards were so vague, people can interpret them any way they want to,” said Dan Quinn of the Texas Freedom Network, a non-profit group that opposes the Religious Right. “It’s a very important move forward that says teachers and curriculum writers are unanimous in wanting our kids to get a 21st-century education.”

But the battle over the science standards is far from over. The State Board of Education is not required to adopt the wording from the final proposal, and many board members, who will vote on the final standards in March, favor creationism. Board Chairman Don McLeroy has said science should admit the possibly of the supernatural and that he does not believe in evolution.