Vote changes the way evolution is taught

March 27, 2009 1:56:47 PM PDT
Texas will no longer require educators to teach weaknesses of all scientific theories, including evolution. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The requirements were approved Friday by the State Board of Education in a 13-2 vote adopting new state science curriculum standards that will be in place for the next decade.

In a compromise plan, teachers will be required to have students scrutinze "all sides" of scientific theories, a move criticized by evolution proponents.

The vote caps a week of impassioned debate that had scientists, teachers and textbook publishers from around the country focused on Texas.

Earlier today at the University of Houston Law Center, some of the most knowledgeable legal minds on the topic spoke about the issue.

For years, Texas has required teachers to examine both the strengths and weaknesses of the theory of evolution. But Friday's vote changes that.

"This fight for the Texas Board of Education is really over a symbol," said Erwin Chemerinsky with the Irvine School of Law at the University of California. "The symbol is to what extent are schools are going to be secular or to what extent are we going to bring religion into the schools. That's why there's so much emotion attached to this. It's not just a battle in Texas. It's a battle being fought in many states across the country."

"This is an enduring, quintessential American debate that will go on long past our time on this earth," said U.S. District Judge John Jones.

Judge Jones says the fact that we have been talking about this for decades means we'll likely be talking about it for years to come.

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