Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Texas Education Gets A Pity Grade

On Tuesday, Thomas B. Fordham Institute released the, "State of State Science Standards 2012", with a complete report for each state.  This year, Texas received a grade of C (a 6 out of  10):

State of State Science Standards 2012
Fordham Institute: Texas (PDF)

If you've spent any time in the state of Texas over the past 3 to 4 years, you know that the Texas State Board of Education has been anxiously awaiting the Fordham Institutes evaluation.  Why?  Because the last time Fordham released their Science Standard grades, Texas received an F.  Deservedly so, since the Intelligent Design movement had all but solidified itself as legitimate science - which we all know is nonsense - and the State Board of Education began modifying science standards to include the newest version of "god did it".

Creationists activists that have been elected to the school board have been largely to blame for the abysmal Fordham grades, in particular the former chairman, Mr. "Strengths and Weaknesses of Evolution" Don McLeroy from Bryan, TX.  Armed with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and the Gideons International, McLeroy decided it was time to turn back the scientific clock to the early 19th century, because he knew better than thousands of Biologists studying the Theory of Evolution over the past 150 years.  And no, electrical engineers do not have the appropriate scientific background in Biology and Evolutionary Biology to make that kind of judgment (sorry, Dad...)

After somewhat of a public backlash, several of the Creationists on the SBOE were replaced by more pro-science Board members in the November 2010 election.  (YAY!)  So of course, this makes the new Fordham Institute Science Standard a bit of a relief for the Texas SBOE.

But to be honest, this C doesn't really sit right with me.  It doesn't feel at all like a step in the right direction; it feels more like a pity grade.  These Fordham Science Standards that received an average score for 2012 were the exact same standards that received an F in 2009 from the National Center for Science Education.  Is this a sign that the Texas SBOE is actually addressing the atrocious science standards, or did the Fordham Institute just throw Texas voters a bone for cleaning house at the SBOE?

*** UPDATE 2/2/2012 ***
Don McLeroy claims in the Texas Independent that he is, "very pleased" with the study and the, "work of religious conservatives has been vindicated," because the state of Texas received a C from the Fordham Institute.  I've seen some crazy political spin in my day, but this takes spin to a whole new level.  Honestly, is McLeroy actually boasting that the Texas education system is nothing more than average?  What a guy...

I'll let my readers decide.  Do you push your kids to strive for better grades than a C?  Should Texas parents be satisfied and "very pleased" with average?

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