Another Fight Over Evolution Brewing In Texas

A Texas state education committee wants to remove several requirements that force public high school biology teachers to teach concepts that challenge evolution, a move that is likely to spark a new battle over science education.

Texas’ State Board of Education created a 10-member committee composed of school district officials and scholars to examine the state’s biology curriculum standards. The standards, known as the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), govern what is taught in public schools.

Some committee members say the standards are too lengthy and have recommended trimming material that undermines evolution.

Ron Wetherington, an anthropology professor at Southern Methodist University, told the Austin American-Statesman that the anti-evolution standards are unnecessary.

“How can we improve the TEKS by paring it down and giving you more time to teach what you need to teach? For the most part, we were looking at duplications, non-sequitur and grammatical problems, and other structural problems in the TEKS that made it difficult to interpret,” he said.

But some committee members who are sympathetic to creationism voted to keep the standards.

The State Board of Education has been dominated by Religious Right conservatives for several years, making the state a frequent battleground for disputes over the teaching of evolution.