Creationism, evolution debate focus of state hearing on new text - News, Weather & Sports

Creationism, evolution debate focus of state hearing on new textbooks


Dozens of activists showed up to a State Board of Education public hearing Tuesday, battling over which textbooks they believe should be approved for use in science classrooms. Some argued that creationism should be taught as an option alongside evolution, but others said they want religion kept out of the classroom.

"Parents and religious leaders can teach what they want elsewhere," said one public commenter. "I stand up for science."

"If we believe in education and exposing our children to different theories and letting them make up their minds, then everything should be presented to them," said State Representative Bryan Hughes.

The meeting looks to find replacements for textbooks that were written as long as 15 years ago, all now out of date since new science content standards went into effect in 2010. Those standards explicitly teach the theory of evolution, but are supposed to allow students to formulate their own opinion.

"Evolution has always been in our standards," said Ladona Cook, a science editor for Mentoring Minds, a group that creates supplemental lesson plans for teachers. "We present the student the evidence and they have to come up with their own conclusions."

"These standards were put in place a few years ago by a bipartisan group on the state education board," Hughes said.

But some activists said the board is trying to push their own agendas.

"Some members of the state Board of Education, a government institution, are attempting to sponsor a specific Christian dogma in Texas science textbooks," said another public commenter.

Politics aside, teachers said the real goal is getting students up-to-date material.

"Science is really the study of change," Cook said. "It's going to change every time there's more research done, probably every second. We have to teach students that change is inevitable."

The Board of Education will hold their final meeting in November. At that time, the group will make their decision on which textbooks to approve.

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