Jan 30, 2009 Report of Jan 21-23 SBOE meeting

In This Issue
Report - Weaknesses Expelled from Texas Schools
Citizen Involvement - How YOU can help!
"A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts on both sides of each question..." - Charles Darwin in Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life

In spite of a reported 6500 constituent emails, three-quarters of the public testifiers, and recommendations of half of the "experts" to keep weaknesses in theories and two-thirds of the "experts" to keep weaknesses of hypotheses, Darwinists succeeded in deceiving eight members of the State Board of Education (SBOE) on most votes -- including a decisive one specifically related to retaining "strengths and weaknesses" in biology standards.  How did YOUR SBOE member vote? (Above was typical vote split--8 votes were required to pass, hence passed items needed abstentions or swing votes from the above 8 NOs to pass.  Note that Craig, Hardy, and Miller are Republicans).

To those who have already helped in some way, Thank You!  To those who have not yet gotten involved, it is not too late.  The SBOE has the opportunity to correct problems at its March 25-27 meeting, where the final votes will be taken.  If your SBOE member voted NO in the above, we need them to hear from you!  Email them at SBOESUPPORT@tea.state.tx.us.

TBSE volunteers

REPORT: SBOE Members Expel Weaknesses From Curriculum Standards
"Strengths and Weaknesses" Removed from Texas Science Standards--Academic Freedom and Critical Thinking Suffer at State Board of Education - Darwinists Gloat
Austin, Texas--January 21-23, 2009:  Three Republican and five Democratic Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) members voted with Darwinists, atheists, ACLU members, and at least one bona fide signer of the infamous Humanist Manifesto III, in an attempt to promote indoctrination over critical thinking skills.  The GOP members ignored both the 2008 Republican Party Platform[1] and constituent emails that numbered over 6500--an unprecedented number for SBOE battles.
The twenty-year-old clear mandate to teach scientific "strengths and weaknesses" of theories and hypotheses, both of which have weaknesses, was taken out of the Texas science standards and replaced with "analyze and evaluate", a far less clear phrasing.  This was in spite of the recommendations of 3 of 6 designated experts to retain the "strengths and weaknesses" language for theories and 4 of 6 to retain the language for hypotheses.
Additionally, over three-fourths of the public testimony, including that of numerous PhDs, supported retaining "strengths and weaknesses". 


Left to right:  Area ACLU secretary Steve Schafersman (in back, barely visible in this picture); arch-Darwinist Eugenie Scott of Berkeley, California; TFN's Kathy Miller (white coat); SBOE member Tincy Miller (in back, facing others); SBOE member Bob Craig of Lubbock. (Taken while the five were huddled in a strategy session to promote evolution being taught without weaknesses language.  Do you have this sort of influence with your SBOE members?)

The three GOP members that lined up with the Darwinists on most important votes were Bob Craig of Lubbock, Geraldine "Tincy" Miller of Dallas, and Pat Hardy of Fort Worth.  These GOP members were also seen listening during breaks to arch-Darwinist Eugenie Scott, (she flew in from Berkeley, California to "mess with Texas'" science standards--see the movie Expelled-No Intelligence Allowed) and area ACLU secretary Steve Schafersman.  They also listened to members of the Texas Freedom Network, far-and-away the most liberal lobbying group in Texas founded by current Planned Parenthood of America president Cecile Richards.  The Democratic members of the board are Mary Helen Berlanga of Corpus Christi, Rene Nunez of El Paso, Rick Agosto of San Antonio, Lawrence Allen of Houston, and Mavis Knight of Dallas.
The writing process of the new science standards had earlier been hijacked by Darwinists who clearly had an agenda of removing the strengths and weaknesses language.  With the help of the Texas Education Agency, the review panels were packed with members unwilling to allow Darwinism to be criticized.  One panel member, Kenn Heydrick, was an activist against the "strengths and weaknesses" language prior to being hired by the TEA as science director, where he allegedly continued his activism in spite of his new job responsibilities forbidding it.
Some members of the TEA review panels were so focused on removal of language that questioned evolution that they short-changed solid science.  They neglected to include teaching students about the basic workings of our Solar System in one case and Simple Machines in another.  In a new course, Earth and Space Science, (ESS), geo-science related to oil and gas exploration activities and orbital mechanics were neglected.  However,  naturalistic origin-of-life from dead chemicals ideas were included, and with newly adopted wording, will be treated as fact.  A minority report on the ESS course objected, in part, to the "dogmatic tone" in the standards.  (The Solar System and Simple Machines omissions are expected to be corrected at the March SBOE meeting).
Member Cynthia Dunbar of Sugarland offered an amendment that would have replaced the worst parts of the new standards with the tried-and-true strengths and weaknesses language.  It was defeated in a recorded vote (7-7-1-one member was absent).  She then offered to substitute language offered that would have provided "evidence supporting and evidence not supporting" evolution--language one of the Darwinists actually used in testimony--but the Darwinists couldn't even live with that, defeating that (even with no "strengths and weaknesses" language) in another record vote (7-8-see photo above).  GOP members Craig, Miller, and Hardy sided with five Democratic members in voting against retaining strengths and weaknesses language and in not substituting other similar language.
Member Barbara Cargill of The Woodlands then offered a series of amendments to the Earth and Space Science standards, a new course originally chartered to help students gain knowledge associated with the oil and gas and NASA related industries, important to Texas.  As written, the course reflects more cosmology than space exploration, and more dogmatic environmental and global warming issues than oil and gas issues.  It is not clear how this course, as the Darwinists have structured it, will prepare students for either the job market or college.  Mrs. Cargill, herself a former science teacher, offered thirteen amendments to address the dogmatic tone of the standard, and succeeded with five of those amendments, sometimes convincing Hardy.
Member Terri Leo of Spring then offered several amendments to address the poor language chosen by the TEA panels for sections of the new high school biology standard.  In the new standard, many items were addressed in the most simplistic of terms in Bloom's Taxonomy, such as "identify" and "recognize", typically used in lower grade level standards.  To help foster critical thinking, member Leo changed that language to "analyze and evaluate", which is higher level learning according to Bloom's Taxonomy, a mainstay of educators.  This language change was relatively uncontroversial and garnered support from heavy majorities of the board in nearly every case.
Chairman Don McLeroy, both a degreed electrical engineer and medically trained doctor (dentistry), offered two proposals, both of which passed.  The first inserted language in all high school science classes from the National Academy of Science that mandates that students "understand what science is and that science has limitations."  The second added a TEKS to the Biology standard that includes students being able to "analyze and evaluate the sufficiency or insufficiency of common ancestry to explain the sudden appearance, stasis and sequential nature of groups in the fossil record."  Dr. McLeroy brilliantly instructed the board for about ten minutes on the subject of the fossil record as understood today, using evidence and quotations from world-class evolutionary paleontologists, including the late Dr. Stephen J. Gould of Harvard and Dr. Ernst Mayr.  The former two features of the fossil record, sudden appearance and stasis of body styles, represent the vast majority of the data of the fossil record itself and led Gould with fellow evolutionist Dr. Niles Eldridge, to formulate the punctuated equilibria theory of evolution.  Punctuated equilibria theory is at odds with uniformitarian or slow gradual evolution as Darwin imagined it and was formulated to explain the very lack of transitional form fossil evidence.
While removal of strengths and weaknesses was certainly a loss for clarity and critical thinking, the seven conservatives' heroic, courageous, and principled efforts to improve a bad standard should be applauded, (Terri Leo, Barbara Cargill, Cynthia Dunbar, Ken Mercer, David Bradley, Gail Lowe, and Chairman Don McLeroy.) The Board may be emailed at sboesupport@tea.state.tx.us.  The amended standards were approved a second time by unanimous voice vote on Friday, January 23.  The board must vote on the new standards twice more, with both votes being at their scheduled March meetings.
At the March 25-27 SBOE meeting, an effort will be made to return the "strengths and weaknesses" language to the Texas science standards.
Note that at press time, the Darwinists, who were doing victory dances for anyone who would look/listen, are now plotting to remove even the common sense improvements the above amendments represent. 

 [1] The Texas 2008 Republican Party Platform states on the issue:


Theories of Origin - We support objective teaching and equal treatment of strengths and weaknesses of scientific theories, including Intelligent Design. We believe theories of life origins and environmental theories should be taught as scientific theory, not scientific law. Teachers and students should be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these theories openly and without fear of retribution or discrimination of any kind.

[Note:  You may direct comments to:  newsletterfeedback2009@strengthsandweaknesses.org]


Your Assistance Is Still Needed on Three Fronts!  

First, please take a minute and sign our "Teach Both Strengths AND WEAKNESSES of Evolution Petition
" here.  It will only take 30 seconds and will help counter the Darwinist dogma that, "No one questions evolution."

, please write a politely worded letter of support to the State Board of Education encouraging them to keep or even strengthen the "scientific strengths and weaknesses" language that has served Texas well for TWENTY YEARS without a single legal challenge.  You might also point out one or two of your favorite weaknesses of evolution theories. SBOE Email: sboesupport@tea.state.tx.us. Other contact information is located here.

Third, mark March 25, 2009 on your calendar.  This is the day public testimony will be taken before the full State Board of Education in Austin.  It is especially important that you consider testifying if you are a teacher or have Ph.D. credentials.  For more information, see:

Thank You!

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