Ideologues on official state textbook review teams are attacking the treatment of evolution and climate change in science textbooks under consideration in Texas, charged the Texas Freedom Network and the National Center for Science Education in a joint press release issued on September 9, 2013. “Once again culture warriors on the state board are putting Texas at risk of becoming a national laughingstock on science education,” TFN’s president Kathy Miller warned.
As the press release explains, documents obtained by the TFN show “that reviewers made ideological objections to coverage related to evolution and climate change in textbooks from at least seven publishers, including several of the nation’s biggest publishing houses. Failing to obtain a review panel’s top rating makes it harder for publishers to sell their textbooks to school districts or can even lead the State Board of Education (SBOE) to reject the textbook altogether.”
The members of the state board of education nominated the reviewers of whom few had any scientific credentials to make such judgements. Several have been connected to antievolution organizations such as the Discovery Institute. A public hearing is scheduled for September 17 with the final vote on the textbooks will be in November.
This failure in Kentucky may make them a laughing stock.
The NGSS are a new set of state science standards based on the National Research Council’s recommendations titled “A Framework for K-12 Science Education” along with a consortium of representatives of twenty-six states. They were not well received by climate change and evolution denialists.
Despite the recommendation of the Kentucky Department of Education and the Kentucky Board of Education, a legislative committee voted not to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards for the state. At its September 11, 2013, meeting, the Kentucky legislature’s Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee voted 5-1 to find the standards deficient. Robert Bevins, president of Kentuckians for Science Education, told the Lexington Herald-Leader (September 11, 2013) that rejecting the new standards would be a horrible embarrassment for the state.
Groups supporting Kentucky’s adoption of the NGSS include Kentuckians for Science Education, the Kentucky Paleontological Society, the Kentucky Academy of Sciences, and the Kentucky Science Teachers Association.
But, hey, their opinions don’t matter. Only the Bible does. Grrr.
But wait! Lookie here! The governor swoops in to save the day!
On September 11, 2013, Kentucky’s governor Steve Beshear announced that he “plans to implement the new Kentucky Next Generation Standards under his own authority,” as the Lexington Herald-Leader (September 11, 2013) reports.
He acknowledges they are a “critical component” of the KY education system. Many have applauded his courage to defend science. You can bet the stodgy Creationists are grumbling. GOOD! Get your backwards agenda outta here!