Surprise Texas Board Action on Evolution Completely Missed by Media
Apparently there weren't many reporters who stayed for the entire Texas Board of Education meeting today. That's the only conclusion I can draw from the slew of utterly misleading stories this afternoon and evening from the Associated Press, the Dallas Morning, and other media outlets claiming that those of us who favor critical analysis of modern evolutionary theory in the classroom suffered a big "defeat" in Texas today. It's true that the Board narrowly rejected a motion to preserve the language in the current science standards calling for students to study the "strengths and weaknesses" of scientific theories. But that's only half of the story. Later in the afternoon, the Board amazingly passed a series of amendments to the actual science standards dealing with evolution--both for general biology, and for a new course in earth and space science. These amendments, most of which were enacted by large margins, specifically require students to "analyze and evaluate" the evidence for common ancestry, natural selection, mutation, and a variety of other planks of modern evolutionary theory. The new evolution standards are a huge advance over the previous language, and are a great victory for parents, teachers, and students who want good science education in the state of Texas. Note to reporters: You need to stay to the end of government meetings you cover, and you need to talk with people on both sides of controversial issues before you report about them. It remains to be seen whether reporters will correct the record once they find out what actually happened.