The Texas Board of Education voted again to decide how lessons challenging the science of evolution will be taught in classrooms. The board preliminarily approved a revised curriculum they said is more stream-lined and will save time for teachers.
Keven Ellis is the State Board of Education District 9 Representative, “This is the first time that we have streamlined a subject. Normally we go through a full revision and that's starting from scratch. There's too much information in them and there's not enough time for the teachers to teach that within a calendar school year,” he said.
Earlier this year the board scrapped anti-evolution rules asking students to consider "All sides" of scientific theory. But they also adopted rules students should "Evaluate scientific explanations" on the complexity of human cells and on the origin of DNA.
Some were concerned that could make students believe god helped create human life.
The board appointed a committee made up of teachers and scientists to come up with recommendations on the curriculum and wording. Dr. Ron Wetherington is an Anthropology professor and was on the committee, “We didn’t talk about the nature of the controversy and we didn’t talk about how our deletion of some of these would influence the teaching of evolution. That wasn't our concern. Our focus was not on ideology,” he said.
Rather than “Evaluate” the complexity of human cells and where DNA came from students will now “Examine" the theories, something Dr. Wetherington said is different, “To examine is to look at something in detail, to evaluate is to look at in detail and then make a judgement about it,” he said.
While, Wetherington said this will help teachers save time in the classroom, others said streamlining the subject won't allow students to really understand.
Dr. Matt Robinson is on the Friendswood ISD, Board of Trustees, “We are not clear scientifically how life began. I worry that they are kind of glossing over that and so that as a student in junior high biology or something like that, won't really get that appreciation of the complexity of life in the molecular aspects of the beginning of life,” he said.
The board will make a final vote Friday.
If approved, the new curriculum will go into effect for the 2018-2019 school year.