January 2, 2009

Proposed Texas science curriculum released

Critics of earlier drafts say the final draft of the Texas science curriculum will provide students with a 21st century education, especially on evolution.

The draft changed a requirement that schools teach the strengths and weaknesses or strengths and limitations of scientific theories, the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram reports. In the third draft, the curriculum now requires that students be taught to evaluate models according to their limitations in representing biological objects or events.

Watchdog groups and scientists said earlier drafts would have allowed creationist ideas in the classroom.

The old standards were so vague, people can interpret them any way they want to, said Dan Quinn of the Texas Freedom Network. It's a very important move forward that says teachers and curriculum writers are unanimous in wanting our kids to get a 21st century education.

The State Board of Education, which plans to hold a public hearing Jan. 21 and a vote in March, does not have to accept the draft. Last year, the board rejected a proposed arts curriculum in favor of one that members said they were given one hour to read before the vote.