The Texas Education Agency is meeting, and the creationists are pushing harder than ever. The Texas Freedom Network reports:
“Any statements made were my own personal beliefs.”
That’s how Karen Beathard, an official state textbook reviewer, defends telling publishers that the biology textbooks they submitted for adoption in Texas this year should include “creation science based on biblical principles.”
Her statement encapsulates precisely the problem with the science textbook adoption process in Texas. Some State Board of Education (SBOE) members decided to nominate reviewers based on their personal beliefs, not their qualifications or expertise. And because they did so, SBOE members have undermined public confidence that the review process was anything but a sham.
Ms. Beathard, a dietician/nutritionist, has every right to her personal beliefs. The Texas Freedom Network will stand up for her right to express those beliefs in public or in private. But Texas students should get a 21st-century education that prepares them for college and the jobs of today. That means their textbooks should be based on established, mainstream science, not the personal beliefs of individuals who simply aren’t qualified to evaluate those textbooks.
It’s like engineering. You’re free to believe you can build a suspension bridge out of toilet paper, but you’re not free (or you shouldn’t be free) to get that belief taught to students in public schools.