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Why not fairy tales instead?

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.

Comments

  1. Suido says

    As a civil engineer, I would like to note that building a suspension bridge out of toilet paper wouldn’t be that hard, especially if I can use the cardboard rolls as well. The trickiest part would be rolling/braiding the toilet paper to make suspension cables.

    It wouldn’t hold much, but it would be an interesting exercise. And then we could test it till it fails, because.

  2. Claire Ramsey says

    The real bad news here is that Texas and California are the biggest markets for textbooks so what they adopt is usually what the rest of the country adopts. Most states can’t afford to fund their very own non-medieval textbooks.

    Golly, thanks Texas!!

  3. says

    Actually, the toilet paper bridge sounds like the sort of exercise you’d give to a middle or high school class, with a prize for the one that supported the most weight before failing catastrophically. ‘Cuz it would be *fun*.

  4. oursally says

    In a civil engineering course we did indeed build small bridges of paper, can be done. The bridges were all tested to see which one could carry most weight. Paper is strong under tension, you can do a lot with paper if you think about it first. Think how strong corrugated cardboard boxes are.

    But of course it would fall apart in the rain, if insects didn’t eat it first. This is why you don’t see a lot of paper structures outside.

  5. laemming says

    Maybe the books that are chosen are not that important. I just read an article explaining why girls should not go to college.

  6. rnilsson says

    Well, in Texas a REAL creativist person wouldn’t even need toilet paper. (Because, where is that in teh Bubble, eh?) As a Person of Faith, they should be able to cross the waters like Jesus, even in an SUV.

    Or maybe sink like a witch. Worth a trial, maybe?

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