Texas Science Education Chief Forced Out
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 09:30:34 PM EST
Proponents of the intelligent design theory of the universe have apparently forced out the science curriculum director of the Texas Education Agency. What precipitated the resignation  the Austin-American Statesman reports, was that Chris Comer forwarded an email from her office computer promoting a public talk by Barbara Forrest, a prominent academic critic of ID. Comer is accused of being biased over the matter, which is still a matter of considerable contention in Texas education politics.

The 2006 federal court decision in Kitzmiller vs. Dover, which thorougly debunked ID as legitimate science, was based in considerable part on Forrest's testimony.

The controversy promises to ignite further national debate about the politics of intelligent design, and how the dressed-up religious doctrine of creationism is being fraudulently promoted as science to the public schools, and beyond.

Here are excerpts from the American-Statesman article:

Comer was put on 30 days paid administrative leave shortly after she forwarded an e-mail in late October announcing a presentation being given by Barbara Forrest, author of "Inside Creationism's Trojan Horse," a book that says creationist politics are behind the movement to get intelligent design theory taught in public schools. Forrest was also a key witness in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case concerning the introduction of intelligent design in a Pennsylvania school district. Comer sent the e-mail to several individuals and a few online communities, saying, "FYI."

Agency officials cited the e-mail in a memo recommending her termination...  "Ms. Comer's e-mail implies endorsement of the speaker and implies that TEA endorses the speaker's position on a subject on which the agency must remain neutral."

Comer's resignation comes just months before the State Board of Education is to begin reviewing the science portion of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, the statewide curriculum that will be used to determine what should be taught in Texas classrooms and what textbooks are bought.

The call to fire Comer came from Lizzette Reynolds, who previously worked in the U.S. Department of Education. She also served as deputy legislative director for Gov. George W. Bush. She joined the Texas Education Agency as the senior adviser on statewide initiatives in January.

Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, which sent the original e-mail to Comer announcing the event, said Comer's situation seems to be a warning to agency employees. "This just underscores the politicization of science education in Texas," Scott said. "In most states, the department of education takes a leadership role in fostering sound science education. Apparently TEA employees are supposed to be kept in the closet and only let out to do the bidding of the board."



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To the best of my knowledge, the test that is referred to in the Statesman article is the one used by Texas to measure its standing within the NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND requirements. The implication is that the ID school wants it included in the classroom AND in the tests that [supposedly] measure the knowledge and education of Texas schoolchildren. The question is whether the ruling in Dover here in PA will have any bearing on laws in other states or if the battle will have to be fought state by state.

This is a bit of an aside, but can I tell you how glad I am that I graduated from a Texas public high school 20 years ago? I got out with an excellent education before all the standardized testing hit and before the latest round of Creationism/ID began to creep its way inside the school. When I got to Boston University, I was appalled by the lack of basic knowledge, particularly in literature and history, displayed by my college classmates with their NY Regents and high-flying MA private school diplomas. Now I pity my cousins growing up in Texas schools.

by RevRuthUCC on Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 05:41:40 PM EST

That implies some sort of "equality" between Evolution and "ID".  I thought Dover put the nails in that coffin.

by ArchaeoBob on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 10:15:34 PM EST

Intelligent Design isn't testable, so it doesn't fit the category of hypothesis, much less that of a theory.

(One of my pet peeves- the misuse of the world Theory!!!)


by ArchaeoBob on Fri Nov 30, 2007 at 07:13:50 PM EST



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