For previous coverage of the Scopes Monkey Trial of the 21st Century, click here.
A guy in gray sweatpants, an olive green hoodie and hiking boots just walked in, stood next to me, and scratched his butt. Thoroughly. I can't you tell if he's for or against the strengths-and-weaknesses language in public school science standards.
But I can tell you the board tied seven to seven (member Rene Nuñez is MIA) on the matter, which means the strengths-and-weaknesses language is out. You can thank swing voter Rick Agosto for that, if you're not into S&W.
As a refresher course for those of you who don't read your SBOE documents before bed, the current science standards, in place since 1998, have this phrase, "The student is expected to analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information."
Some science educators, experts and intelligent design-phobics urged the board to throw that last part out because it acts as a "back door" to let creationism in the classroom. We all know the back door is completely inappropriate. Especially in the classroom.
Member Cynthia Dunbar, infamous for putting President Barak Obama and terrorists in the same boat (well, a lot of people are famous for that after last year, but she's the one on the Texas school board), brought up the initial amendment. When she lost, she tried tweaking the verbage.
Here's what she wanted for next best thing: "Students should analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning and experimental and observational testing, by examining scientific evidence supportive and not supportive of those explanations."
"I am appealing to your logic and not your emotion," Dunbar said to her colleagues. "I know that can be hard."
"I think my logic is working just fine," smacked member Mavis Knight, a Dallas Democrat.
Dunbar lost again.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.