Another press release, FYI. I’ve added some links in for your convenience. Remember, teachers of social studies, social studies is next on the SBOE chopping block — with rumors that SBOE is disbanding the expert panels rather than simply ignore the recommendations. Will they expunge slavery and Native Americans from the history books? Will they rewrite the Vietnam War? Consider Senate Bill 2275, and call your legislator:
For Immediate Release
Texas Citizens for Science
2009 April 13
Steven D. Schafersman, Ph.D.
Texas Citizens for Science strongly supports Senate Bill 2275 which transfers authority for curriculum standards and textbook adoption from the State Board of Education (SBOE) to the Texas Commissioner of Education.
For decades, members of the SBOE have censored, qualified, distorted, damaged, manipulated, and rejected curriculum standards and textbooks. All of this was done for political, ideological, and religious reasons, never for educational or pedagogical reasons. In the past, this activity was done secretly, behind closed doors, but now it is being done publicly in full view of the public and press. Recently, inaccurate, censored, and pedagogically- inferior English Language Arts and Science curriculum standards have been written by the SBOE using their power of amendment. This year, the Social Studies standards will be attacked by some SBOE members for non-educational reasons that support their political and ideological agendas.
For textbooks, in the past the SBOE chair would secretly “negotiate” with publishers to make them change the content of their textbooks under the implied threat of being rejected; publishers readily submitted to save multimillion dollar textbook contracts with the state. In numerous instances, textbook content was replaced by watered-down, inferior, and often misleading, inaccurate, and incomplete information. This activity continues today, albeit more openly with both press and public attention. Science textbooks censorship by the SBOE has occurred sinc the 1960s, as has censorship of social studies and other textbooks.
Dr. Steven Schafersman, President of Texas Citizens for Science, says this:
“The Texas State Board of Education has been an embarrassment and a disgrace to Texas for many decades. This Board’s activities that censor and corrupt the accuracy and reliability of specific topics in mainstream Science, Social Studies, and Health Education are well-known to educators throughout the United States as well as in Texas. All educators are aware of the negative and damaging influence the Texas State Board of Education has on textbooks used in Texas and other states.”
“Texas Citizens for Science has opposed the State Board of Education since 1980 in our effort to defend the accuracy and reliability of science education in Texas. We have repeatedly had to defend Biology and Earth Science textbooks from the Board’s predatory efforts to damage their content about such subjects as evolution, the origin of life, the age of the Earth and Universe, the true nature of the fossil record, and several other scientific topics.”
“Although largely successful in the past, only this past month TCS was unable to prevent the State Board of Education from amending the excellent science standards produced by science teachers, professors, and scientists. The State Board’s subsequent amendments created several flawed standards that, while not overtly unscientific, were confusing, unnecessary, poorly-written, and opened the door to insertion of pseudoscientific information, including bogus arguments supporting Intelligent Design Creationism. Among others things the Board accomplished during this exercise in pseudoscience was to remove the e-word and the ancient age of the universe from the standards. These accomplishments were petty, disgraceful, and clear proof of their anti-scientific and pro-Fundamentalist bias. A modern, technologically- advanced state such as Texas does not need such anti-science activity from a state board.”
Texas Citizens for Science urges the Senate Education Committee to approve SB 2275 and send it to the full Senate, the House, and then hopefully signed into law.