You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

State panel limits teaching phenomena that challenge evolution


Highlights

The board on Friday adopted streamlined science curriculum standards that will go into effect 2018-19.

The board has struggled with whether to change how evolution is taught.

Critics say that the current way evolution is taught is watered down.

By swapping out a few words in high school biology curriculum standards, the State Board of Education has limited the teaching of scientific phenomena that challenge the theory of evolution, a move that liberals hailed as a victory.

The panel on Friday approved a pared down version of the high school biology curriculum standards after committees of teachers and scholars worked for months to streamline the state’s voluminous science curriculum for all grades. The standards that covered evolution became the most hotly debated issue during the process.

“It was clear from testifiers that many who had varied concerns found the compromise language chosen by the board to be acceptable, addressing both the need to streamline content while still encouraging critical thinking by students,” said board chairwoman Donna Bahorich, R-Houston.

TEXAS POLITICS DELIVERED EVERY DAY: Sign up for our Texas Politics email

Currently, high school students must learn about scientific phenomena that can’t readily be explained by evolution, like cell complexity, origin of DNA and life, and abrupt appearances in fossil records, which left-leaning critics have said invites teachings of creationism and intelligent design.

On Friday, the board approved new wording on two standards that have come under particular scrutiny:

• Compare and contrast prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, including their complexity, and compare and contrast scientific explanations for cellular complexity.

• Identify components of DNA, describe how information for specifying the traits of an organism is carried in the DNA, and examine scientific explanations for the origin of DNA.

The streamlined standards will go into effect in the 2018-19 school year.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK: Our Lone Star Politics page brings Capitol news to your Facebook feed

In January, the board-appointed streamlining committee recommended elimination of anti-evolution curriculum standards, but the board in February proposed to restore much of the language. The committee then asked the board to soften the language the board wanted to restore — instead of “evaluating” cell complexity and origin of DNA, students should “identify” or “compare and contrast, ” the committee suggested — which received pushback from evolution skeptics.

On Wednesday, with the blessing of some of the committee members, the board voted unanimously to allow students to compare and contrast cell complexity and examine the origin of DNA instead of “evaluate” or “identify.”

Ron Wetherington, a Southern Methodist University professor and member of the streamlining committee who doesn’t think creationism and intelligent design should be taught in the classroom, said the new standards were a success.

“For the first time in decades, the science standards contain no controversial student expectations and represent mainstream science. Also for the first time, the board reached out to teachers for ongoing comment on their amendments and paid attention to the experts in the classroom,” he said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Texas News & Politics

California woman finds frog in her salad
California woman finds frog in her salad

A California woman found an unpleasant addition to her salad earlier this month, as she uncovered a dead frog nestled inside the lettuce. >> Read more trending news  Shawna Cepeda was dining at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse in West Covina and noticed her salad had a bitter taste, according to a Yelp review she posted on June 13...
Rain, cooler temperatures to continue Sunday
Rain, cooler temperatures to continue Sunday

Keep those umbrellas handy, Austin. Sunday’s forecast calls for more sporadic showers, cloudy skies and possible thunderstorms, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures will remain cool with a high of 87 and a low tonight of 71. TRAFFIC UPDATES: Use our interactive map to track delays as the commute unfolds The wet weather is expected...
Emails chart how ‘Mad Men’ archive landed at UT’s Ransom Center
Emails chart how ‘Mad Men’ archive landed at UT’s Ransom Center

An archive of props, clothing, scripts and abandoned story lines from a TV series might not seem at first blush to embody the literary, cultural or artistic significance of the Gutenberg Bible, Frida Kahlo’s “Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird” or any number of other holdings at the University of Texas’ Harry...
Barton Creek bike bridge built, but few coming so far
Barton Creek bike bridge built, but few coming so far

I tweeted out just after sunrise Friday that I was hanging out at the new Barton Creek bike bridge in Southwest Austin to see how many cyclists and others might be using the $14.5 million edifice. I noted that in the half-hour or so I was there, I had seen one commuting cyclist cross the 1,045-foot span over the creek gorge. Not surprisingly, the qualifiers...
Traffic report for June 26, 2017

Interstate 35 (Travis County): The outside lane on the southbound access road will be closed between Parmer Lane and Rundberg Lane from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday and Tuesday nights; locations will change nightly, and Exits 245 through 241 will be closed as needed. Multiple southbound lane closures between Colonial Park Boulevard and Boggy Creek from...
More Stories