Politics at the Texas Education Agency

December 9, 2007

Reaction to the political resignation/firing of the science curriculum director at the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has been almost universally negative. If there are any approving reactions, they are hidden well.

Dr. Barbara Forrest, whose speech in Austin produced the “FYI” memo Chris Comer sent to a dozen people, posted her reaction at the website of the National Center for Science Education; you can get a .pdf download from NCSE, or read the piece with a lot of reaction at Dr. P. Z. Myers’ blog, Pharyngula.

The incident now involving Ms. Comer exemplifies perfectly the reason my co-author Paul R. Gross and I felt that our book, Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design, had to be written. (http://www.creationismstrojanhorse.com) By forcing Ms. Comer to resign, the TEA seems to have confirmed our contention that the ID creationist movement — a religious movement with absolutely no standing in the scientific world — is being advanced by means of power politics.

This morning, TEA director Robert Scott’s responses to questions from the Dallas Morning News opinion editors gave the first official reaction from TEA of any substance.

I don’t think the impression was that we were taking a position in favor of evolution. We teach evolution in public schools. It’s part of our curriculum. But you can be in favor of a science without bashing people’s faith, too. I don’t know all the facts, but I think that may be the real issue here. I can’t speak to motivation but … we have standards of conduct and expect those standards of conduct to be followed.

For reading convenience, both statements are below the fold.

No, I’m not reserving judgment, but I am reserving comment for the moment. I am hopeful Scott will recognize the error and take steps to square his agency with education standards, state law, good employment practices, and reason.

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December 9, 2007


[This was written by our 18-year old.  She generally putters around the kitchen and avoids the laptop when it’s there; occasionally she takes a few stabs at the keyboard of the desktop.  But never before has she shown any interest in actually writing anything.  Last night she said she was hungry, and she was plainly irritated that I was doing nothing to get her dinner to her.  When I answered the telephone, she took the opportunity to write her own little headline and a short line for the body of the post.  I’m posting it as revenge.

Did I say she is 18?  You expect more?

Did I mention Meow is a cat?]

Which cartoons won the 2007 Lurie Awards?

December 9, 2007

The United Nations Correspondents Association was scheduled to announce awards, including the Ranan Lurie Cartoon Awards for 2007, at a dinner on December 7.

I find nothing about the awards anywhere — does somebody have, or has somebody found, a list of the 2007 winners, preferably with a gallery of the cartoons?

(C’mon, New York Times, Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, CNN, NBC, CBS and ABC — where is the news on this? Cagle?)

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