Texas gets C in Science

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According to a new study published by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Texas Science Standards have received a grade of a C, or 6 out of 10 grading criteria based on content, rigor, clarity, and specificity.

These standards are created by the ever so popular and controversial Texas State Board of Education.

The report is a mixed bag of praises and criticism, something one should probably expect when elected officials with no basis or background in education (or even science) pick what gets admitted into the Texas curriculum.

As the Statesman reports, the SBOE tried to alter science a few years ago.

Texas, on the other hand, courted controversy in 2009 when the State Board of Education rewrote the science standards.

Then-Chairman Don McLeroy declared that “somebody's got to stand up to experts” on the subject of evolution, and the board's conservatives pushed for language that some construed as opening the door to the teaching of creationism or intelligent design.

But when the board considered new science materials last summer, the disputed subject matter was not included in any of the adopted submissions.

McLeroy has also championed many other efforts to rewrite history to his liking.

Since McLeroy's demise in 2009 (he did not get confirmed by the Texas Senate for another appoint as chairman, and lost the election in a primary) Texas has marginally improved its reputation in the classroom, as evidenced in this new report, but not by much. Texas received a failing grade in 2005 for its science standards.

Even the report itself seems to be frustrated with the bureaucracy involved in the curriculum:

In addition, the standards are sometimes confusing and frustratingly vague.  Take, for.example, the following process standards:

-Contrast situations where work is done with different amounts of force to situations where no work is done such as moving a box with a ramp and without a ramp, or standing still.

-Demonstrate and illustrate forces that affect motion in everyday life such as emergence of seedlings, turgor pressure, and geotropism. (grade 7)

What these mean is a mystery.

I would expect nothing more than a C grade from a state that doesn't recognize science (or common sense, diplomacy, knowledge of general history) when deciding what the science curriculum for the state should be.  


About Author

Chaille Jolink

Chaille Jolink was born and raised in Austin, Texas and has more than a decade of experience working in Texas politics. Her interest began when she was a Senate Messenger in 2003, and she's since worked for several different legislators and candidates. She started reporting in 2007 for GalleryWatch.com, and has been a contributor to several different publications. Chaille is a graduate of the University of Texas and enjoys fashion, baseball, and playing any team sport. Chaille tweets @ChailleMcCann.

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