Received from Sharon Mosher:
Next week the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) will decide what will be taught in science classes in Texas public high schools – final vote. We as earth scientists have a stake in two areas:
1) The proposed TEKS (curriculum standards) for the new high school Earth and Space Science course was amended at the last meeting. The most controversial amendment is the change in wording in the curriculum standards from the proposed:
(8)(A) evaluate a variety of fossil types, transitional fossils, fossil lineages, and significant fossil deposits with regard to their appearance, completeness, and rate and diversity of evolution;
(8)(A) evaluate a variety of fossil types, proposed transitional fossils, fossil lineages, and significant fossil deposits
with regard to their appearance, completeness, and rate and diversity of evolution and assess the arguments for and against universal common descent in light of this fossil evidence.
The state appointed committee who wrote the original standards (mainly earth scientists) has prepared a summary of all amendments and has suggested compromise wording on the amendments in case the SBOE won’t go back to the original wording: http://www.texscience.org/reports/ESS-Report-Final-2009Jan29.htm.
2) A similar amendment affects wording in the Biology TEKS with regards to fossil evidence.
Such wording provides an opening for State Board members to pressure textbook publishers to include creationist-inspired “weaknesses” of evolution, as occurred in 2003 – and because Texas has such a large share of the textbook market, what we require affects the nation.
What can you do? Contact your SBOE representative and the SBOE chair and let them know your opinion on these amendments – whatever it may be – or testify on Wed., March 25th.
How to Contact Your SBOE Member if you live in Texas
1. Go to http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/
2. On the line “District Type” select “State Board of Education”
3. Type in your address and this will identify which board member represents you.
4. All board members use the same email, so make sure to put in the subject line which member you are trying to contact. However, for the Science TEKS ONLY use this special email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you wish to testify before the board regarding revisions to the science Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, please call (512) 463-9581 between 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. Friday, March 20, or Monday, March 23 to register. You may fax the registration form in to (512) 475-3667 during that same time period. The registration form is available at: http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/sboe/forms/registration_form_public_testimony_012109.pdf.
Thanks again for your interest in the education of Texas students.