Well, Texas! How do you like your culture war!

Historical Item:  William Randolph Hearst’s newspaper in New York favored war with Spain in 1898 — the Spanish-American War.  When the war got underway, on the top of the newspaper’s first page, in the corners (the “ears”), Hearst printed, “America!  How do you like your war!”

Creationism lost on the votes that had been planned for weeks, on issues members of the State Board of Education were informed about.  But creationists on the board proposed a series of amendments to several different curricula, and some really bad science was written in to standards for Texas school kids to learn.  Climate change got an official “tsk-tsk, ain’t happenin'” from SBOE.  And while Wilson and Penzias won a Nobel Prize for stumbling on the evidence that confirmed it, Big Bang is now theory non grata in Texas science books.   Using Board Member Barbara Cargill’s claims, Texas teachers now should teach kids that the universe is a big thing who tells big lies about her age.

Phil Plait wrote at Bad Astronomy:  “Texas:  Yup.  Doomed.”

A surefire way to tell that the changes were bad:  The Discovery Institute’s lead chickens  crow victory over secularism, science and “smart people.”  Well, no, they aren’t quite that bold.   See here, here, here and hereDisco Tute even slammed the so-conservative-Ronald-Reagan-found-it-dull Dallas Morning News for covering the news nearly accurately.  Even more snark here. Discovery Institute’s multi-million-dollar budget to buy good public relations for anti-science appears to have dropped a bundle in Austin; while it might appear that DI had more people in Austin than there are members of the Texas SBOE . . . no, wait, maybe they did.

SBOE rejected the advice of America’s best and greatest scientists.  If it was good science backed by good scientists and urged by the nation’s best educators, SBOE rejected it.  If it was a crank science idea designed to frustrate teaching science, it passed.  As the Texas Freedom Network so aptly put it, while SBOE closed the door on “strengths and weaknesses” language that favors creationism, they then opened every window in the house.

Read ’em, and tell us in comments if you find any reason for hope, or any reason the state legislature shouldn’t abolish this board altogether.  (What others should we add to the list?)

5 Responses to Well, Texas! How do you like your culture war!

  1. […] Remember, Texas is one of those states where International Baccalaureate programs come under fire for requiring kids to read “suspect” books, and study hard, and where AP-required course material is dismissed as wrong by members of the State Board of Education. […]


  2. […] “Well, Texas!  How do you like your culture war?“ […]


  3. Jaycubed says:

    Even more reason for the students & teachers in Texas to hang their heads in shame during the new mandatory “moment of silence” in class.

    Texans! Demand that the strengths & weaknesses of the specific religious beliefs of any church that receives a tax exemption on its income & property must be taught by critics & preached from the pulpit, on danger of losing their exemptions (which is money taken from the pockets of the community as a whole, just like school funding which comes from the public’s pockets).

    PS. Although I live in California, I pay school taxes in two counties of Texas. Those school districts will be hearing from me about the bastardization of science textbook standards.


  4. blueollie says:

    Well, there are times when I actually miss Texas (e. g., during the harsh Illinois winters). Reading that Austin editorial makes me feel better about suffering through these brutal winters. :-)

    Of course, we have our idiots too


  5. G. Broaddus says:

    I’m not too optimistic myself (speaking as someone who will probably never live in Texas, especially not now). It makes me feel very sorry for Texas educators, especially science educators, and those competent administrators who will try their hardest not to let these utterly deficient standards prevent them from providing a good education. This is a moment where I hope a good bottom-up can override a bad top-down (so to speak).


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