I Confess- I Don't understand all the controversy about the Science Teks by the Texas State BOESomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


I Confess- I Don't understand all the controversy about the Science Teks by the Texas State BOE

7 December 2008 at 6:15:46 PM

It isn't even whether I agree or disagree, I just don't get why the language change with "strengths and weaknesses* is a hot button. Here's what I propose to do. I have recorded 8 hours of the TBOE Nov 19 hearing and am going to slog through it, with some audio clips, comments and info I find that will discuss what is said. I'd really appreciate anyone who wants to put in some comments about this to do so. This will be in parts over several days, as I'm also attempting to bake holiday goodies at the same time.

Let me say that I believe that scientific theory isn't just something people hope is so, but is based on observable evidence or can be extrapolated from examples. Nobody can see gravity, for example, and it's a theory but I believe in gravity because I can feel its effects and understand that it keeps me from flying out into space. I don't think that religious argument should be taught in school, however, and there is a big gap between believing that God created everything all at once and believing that life evolved. I understand that there are some who want to tie intelligent design in with evolution but seems to me that is still a religious argument rather than a scientific one. I don't know why people who want to make sure their kids believe, say, that God created the earth, can't make sure to drill it into their heads AT HOME. Does anything stop a parent from taking an active interest in religious instruction? No, rather, I think it's that some are concerned about their children hearing something that contradicts religious beliefs so they want to incorporate or at least attempt to legitimize the teaching ot religious belief into a science class. And it has no place. So, let's away with some audio clips, which may be edited for non-relevant stuff-you can, of course, go listen to the entire audio files in their entirety on the SBOE website, General Board hearings Nov 17 08

Intro-one of the board members sounds contempuous of the hearing and Wants Her Hershey Bar.. with Almonds. MP3 (best to right click and download to your drive) -includes explanation of what the hearing is about and the changes made to the teks.

Language was in place since 1988, put in place by a Democratically controlled board (is this a dig?probably). The *strengths and weakness* language had been there, and was removed. Adding here some info, not from the hearing but from the Texas Science Org about that language.

Both Chemistry and Astronomy left unchanged the "strengths and weaknesses" language of rule 3A. This is most unfortunate, since the old rule 3A is the primary weapon that Creationists have used in the past to attempt to damage and corrupt science textbooks, but there is still time and an opportunity for the chemistry and astronomy teams to revise their rule 3A language and make it consistent with the other science disciplines, which I heartily encourage them to do. The other science disciplines made the change to the new language. Here is the old and new language:

Current Rule 3A

(3) The student uses critical thinking and scientific problem solving to make informed decisions.
(A) The student is expected to analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information.

Proposed New Rule 3A

(3) The student uses critical thinking, scientific reasoning, and problem solving to make informed decisions within and outside the classroom.
(A) The student is expected to analyze and evaluate scientific explanations using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing.

For many reasons I have written about elsewhere, the "critique scientific explanations" and "strengths and weaknesses" language in old rule 3A is unscientific and educationally inappropriate. The language was created by Creationists on the SBOE twenty years ago and used with the old Textbook Proclamation requirements--then the de facto curriculum standards--and was retained when the first TEKS were adopted by the TEA in 1997. The rule 3A "weaknesses" language has been used repeatedly by anti-evolutionists--most recently by the Discovery Institute in 2003--to attempt to damage Texas science education and biology textbooks. The DI and its seven supporters on the SBOE want to keep the old rule 3A language in the standards so they can keep attacking accurate science education and textbooks that dare to present science accurately. For some reason, the Chemistry and Astronomy panels missed the boat on the new rule 3A language, which was written by science education experts and endorsed by STAT, the Science Teachers Association of Texas.

So, if I'm reading this correctly, in 1998 whether it was Democrats on the TBOE then or not, the board voted, when teaching evolution to use strengths and weaknesses terminology (side note: was it only in 1988 that evolution started being taught in Texas? Or only then that it was formalized in a teaching platform?)Mr. Bernal,former state legislator also on this clip- Bernal says to follow the lead of those who revised the standard. If creationism is discussed, it may open the door for equal time for all other faith's creation theories.MP3

More as I get time.

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