Texas Gubernatorial Candidates Weigh In on Intelligent Design, Curriculum Standards

September 13, 2010

The San Angelo Standard Times yesterday published the Texas gubernatorial candidates' responses to questions about K-12 education.  Republican Gov. Rick Perry and his Democratic challenger, Mayor Bill White of Houston, answered a wide range questions, some of which probed their views on evolution versus "intelligent design" creationism and the State Board of Education's controversial changes to the state's curriculum standards.

Each candidate was asked to explain his stance "on evolution-creationism being taught in [public] school."   Governor Perry fully endorsed introducing intelligent design creationism into the science classroom:

I am a firm believer in intelligent design as a matter of faith and intellect, and I believe it should be presented in schools alongside the theories of evolution. The State Board of Education has been charged with the task of adopting curriculum requirements for Texas public schools and recently adopted guidelines that call for the examination of all sides of a scientific theory, which will encourage critical thinking in our students, an essential learning skill. 

Mr. White declined to state his views, instead noting that "[e]ducators and local school officials, not the governor, should determine science curriculum."

The candidates were also asked to explain their views regarding the State Board of Education's overhaul of the Texan school curriculum and textbook standards, which will impact schools nationwide.  In response to the question, "Do you think the role of the State Board of Education should be revised given the recent controversy over curriculum and textbook selection?" Governor Perry stated his view that Texas has the "right system in place" for determining Texas' curriculum:

The State Board of Education is an independently elected body that is charged with developing college- and career-ready curriculum standards for our state. As elected officials, they are accountable to their constituents for implementing curriculum standards that will ensure the best education possible for our state. I have repeatedly stated that the curriculum adopted by the SBOE should be rigorous, grade-level specific, and contain college- and career-ready standards, and I believe we have the right system in place to determine our school curriculum. 

Mayor White, on the other hand, appeared to distance himself from the State Board's actions, stating his belief that "educators and subject matter experts should make curriculum decisions."

Comments:

#1 zito marli (Guest) on Monday September 13, 2010 at 1:57pm

Frankly, I give more credit as a poliltician to
Governor Perry for his straightforward and candid position on the issue pv evolution vs creationism, (he allows for both theories to be taught), than with the wishy-washy political pablum of Mr. White who refrains from taking a position…enough said!

#2 cp (Guest) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 at 4:25pm

Texas is already on shaky ground after the curriculum changes back in March. Any interference by the executive branch to introduce intelligent design creationism into the state curriculum will prompt an immediate lawsuit costing the system millions. Whether this will be a big deal in November I cannot say. But no matter what else Perry may be correct on or be good at, nobody should trust a man that cannot tell the difference between science and religion. Intelligent design is not science, it never has been. It’s a pseudo-scientific movement based on religious doctrine. The history of the intelligent design movement is extraordinarily well documented, including the time and place that “creation science” was renamed “intelligent design”. The claim that intelligent design is legitimately scientific was proven false in federal court in 2006. And anyone with five minutes to spare can do a search on PubMed for scientific papers supporting the edicts of creationism. I’ll save you the trouble; it’s zero. Many will interpret Mr. Perry’s frankness as refreshingly honest. But I fear far too few will interpret his message as ignorant, uneducated and dangerous. Mayor White on the other hand keeps his personal beliefs to himself. And he specifically stays out of the business of other branches of government. While this makes him a FAR superior leader, and a VASTLY more ethical individual, this may also be why people don’t vote for him in November. Sad but true.

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