Tuesday, March 17, 2009

SBOE Mangling Texas Science TEKS -- Act Now

The Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) revises it's science curriculum (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills -- or TEKS) once every ten years. That time is now and this year, new science TEKS (pdf) were written and recommended by science writing panels and experts appointed by the SBOE.

At their January meeting, Don McLeroy and members of his hard-right faction of the SBOE managed to make some unscientific amendments to the proposed recommended science TEKS. This SBOE revised document (pdf) was then approved as the first reading by the SBOE of the science TEKS and was filed with the Texas Register. On March 25, 26, and 27, the SBOE will meet again and could make these TEKS the final ones.

The National Center for Science Education has produced a detailed description and analysis of the January amendments and why they are scientifically unsound.

If you reside in Texas, you can help by writing, telephoning, or emailing your SBOE member (enter your zip code to look up). Check this page to see how your member voted on these amendments at the January meeting. If your member voted against these amendments, thank your member and encourage him or her to continue to support sound science at the March meeting. If your member voted for these amendments, encourage him or her to promote the best science education for Texas schoolchildren by voting to remove these unfortunate amendments and support the TEKS as drafted by the writing panels and experts. In either case, let your SBOE member know that you are their constituent and why you think the amendments that were passed in January should not become part of the new science TEKS.

Any member of the SBOE may be emailed via sboesupport@tea.state.tx.us. Email pertaining to details of the TEKS should be sent to sboeteks@tea.state.tx.us. Comments on the first reading TEKS may also be made online.

The SBOE will hear public testimony on March 25 from noon to 6pm, with registration starting at 8am Friday, March 20th. (Registration form here (pdf).) Please attend and/or testify, if you can. The SBOE meets at 1701 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701 (see map).

See the SBOE web page for more information.

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