Age Old Debate to be Redefined

The teaching of evolution in Texas classrooms is being redefined. After fighting for nearly three years about how to teach children to read, the Texas Board of Education is taking on the science curriculum this summer. Pat Hernandez has the story.


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Last week, The State Board of Education voted to amended a 20 year old curriculum standard that students be taught the “strengths and weaknesses” of all scientific theories.

Gayle Fallon:   “Our members are for dropping it and we represent what our members feel.”

Gayle Fallon is president of the Houston Federation of Teachers.  She says teachers didn’t like the strengths and weaknesses clause because it left open opportunity for personal opinion.

“Science is not a place for personal opinion. Science is a place for fact.”

Hernandez: “So, teaching strengths and weaknesses is very hard to keep the teacher bias out of that structure?”

Fallon: “Right, and it’s when teachers put bias in that we end up having to do termination cases, because the minute your bias comes in, you run against the biases of some of the parents. It’s a touchy subject, what they need to do is just simply deal with fact.”

Professor David Queller is with of the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at Rice University.

“The main difference between evolutionary biology and creationism, is one’s a science and the other one is not. Evolutionary biology is supported by all kinds of evidence. It’s a science, like others, whereas creationism is a set of beliefs that comes out of religion.”

Gregg Matte:   “No one in a funeral is asking for an evolutionist to get up and talk to the family. The evolutionist theory is never called upon in the hospital, nor at the funeral home, nor at the place where the marriage begins to come unraveled.”

Gregg Matte is senior pastor at Houston’s 1st Baptist Church. He says the evolutionist theory is never called upon in places where people believe in God’s creation.

“The thing that’s gonna hurt the schools is in the last twenty years, we’ve seen such an increase of home schools and private schools. It’s a real influx of students into those arenas, because everyone is for public education, but there’s a difference in public education and secular education. Secularization in a humanistic education, Christian parents are beginning to say ‘we’ve had enough.’ And what ends up is that will hurt the schools on just the shear number of people that are in the schools, and the support that it has within the community.”

The State Board of Education is now in the process of dictating the language Texas science teachers will use in the classroom for the next ten years. A final vote on the standards will come in March.

Pat Hernandez, KUHF…Houston Public Radio News.

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