Will Science, Math and Texas Education Ever Get Along?

Texas, dear God, what are you doing?

Far be it for me to tell you how to run your schools (not that that will stop me), but what is happening? I’ve read two very disturbing things in the past week regarding your curriculum, and we need to talk about it.

First: evolution (or should I say EVILution, am I right?). Look, this was cute for a while, but it’s time to put on your adult trousers and get with the program.

For those not in the know, let me fill you in. Last week the Texas state board of education preliminarily approved a slate of new science textbooks. However, one subject got left behind. Which one? You guessed it: biology. Why? Because evolution is the work of the devil, or something.

Who cares if some people continue to believe something in the face of all the evidence? Why should that matter? Surely they are in the fringes. Nope! You’d be wrong about that. In Texas, volunteers get to review textbooks before they are approved. In this case, some of those volunteers are, well, not predisposed to accept the evidence for evolution:

Publishers submitted proposed textbooks this summer, but committees of Texas volunteer reviewers — some nominated by creationists who are current and former Board of Education members — raised objections. One argued that creationism based on biblical texts should be taught in science classes, while others objected that climate change wasn’t as settled a scientific matter as some of the proposed books said.

Now, because a group of creationists have a problem with reality, approval of the biology textbook is held up. The board of education appointed three outside experts to take a look at the book. Hopefully, only actual errors will be reported this time.

This isn’t the only troubling thing to come out of Texas education recently. The state board of education has issued preliminary approval for a change in the math requirement to graduate high school; namely, it would no longer be required for most students to take algebra II.

The goal is to give students more flexibility. If they want to focus on vocational or technical training, the reasoning goes that we should let them. Not everyone will go to college, so not everyone needs college prep classes. According to the Dallas Morning News:

The vote means algebra II would be required of students who want “distinguished” degrees that allow them to qualify for automatic admission to any state public university in Texas. It will also be required of students who choose diploma plans that focus on STEM courses — science, technology, engineering and math.

But the board removed a proposed algebra II requirement for students who choose all other diploma paths: arts and humanities, business and industry, multidisciplinary studies and public service. Students can also earn “foundation” degrees that don’t include higher math or science requirements and don’t focus on a particular discipline.

Really? You’re going to let students who want to work in business out of high school with no algebra II? Le sigh. Let me tell you a personal story.

I hated math in high school. I took a math class every year and did reasonably well, but I hated it. I was going to be a lawyer, so I didn’t need trig. For a variety of reasons, I took it anyway. What I didn’t know at the time is that law schools love mathematicians. Why? Because math teaches you how to think logically and solve problems, even when those problems are unrelated to math.

Basic reasoning skills are necessary in everyday life. You may never need to rationalize the denominator of a fraction. However, being able to sit down and reason your way through a complicated algebra problem is good practice for reasoning your way through more adult decisions.

You’re not making me happy, Texas. If the purpose of mandatory public education is to prepare kids for life as adults, I’m unconvinced that removing a math requirement and pitching a fit over evolution is really the way to go.

Image credit: Thinkstock


Amy L.
Amy L.2 years ago

There is a great book called Rocks of Ages by the evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould that addresses the divide between science and religion. Its an excellent read that bridges the two realms together and emphasizes that the two can peacefully co-exist. "Science defines the natural world; religion our moral world in recognition of their separate spheres of influence.". Now not everyone believes in God and that's okay but for those that do this is perhaps a remedy for such a deep divide. I do have to say though that if the country and that includes Texas wants to compete in the global arena they better damn sure prepare students how to succeed in this world; we must be mathematically and scientifically up to date. Producing ignorant uneducated inept second rate thinkers and doers is going to plummet this country into third world status. Its time to get serious about education in this country and put the evolution vs creationism debate aside; I don't think the businessmen in China - that our kids are going to do business with - give rats ass about either one.

David B.
David B.2 years ago

well think about it. why go to a university in texas if your not going to get a full education??because there are a lot of companies that do believe in evolution . and you notice they always back there claims with someone or thing that you can't prove exists.i mean I've seen no proof there jeus or there god exists? has anyone one here ?? really,honestly??

Betty Kelly
Betty Kelly2 years ago

I think everyone should consider both Science & Religious then decide what they believe.

Robert H.
Robert Hamm2 years ago

……….and Ron G just proved that sience will NEVER be accepted by a man like him. Its senseless to argue with him. No one can win not even him. All he can do is parrot books that are centuries old. Its not even un having discussions wih him becasue he simoly beleives word for word what is in ONE Book and NO other book matters at all.

Save your breath,

Vicky P.
Vicky P.2 years ago


Joe Langer
Joe Langer2 years ago

Ron G, why is it that when ever someone disagrees with you that you think they don't understand? I understand what you are saying, but I also see that it is not logical thinking. I even could say that I agree with you in part, but I at least am willing to admit that I could be wrong about that. You don't seem to have the ability to see that you could be wrong, but keep going back to this illogical idea that we cannot create anything. We are the most creative beings this world has ever seen, second only to God himself. Indeed, in my way of thinking there really is no difference between us creating and God creating, since we are all a part of the Whole that is God. But give us some credit, man. Stand in the middle of a major city and tell me Man cannot create anything!!!

Joe Langer
Joe Langer2 years ago


"Jesus was confronted with a similar aspect when He was asked..." why do you speak to the people in parables ? " He said.." because they will not understand and believe the truth if I tell them as their hearts are not open to it." "

Gee, I always thought that was why he didn't tell them about evolution and the big bang!!

Joe Langer
Joe Langer2 years ago

Ron G. Says,

"Evolution uses science to try and confirm it's theory without understanding that science is dependant on CREATED LAWS !"

That's the kind of self affirming illogic that gives creationists a bad name. There is no logical reason why scientific laws needed a divine intelligence to "create" them. I have many reasons for believing in God, but even I can see that this is nonsense. Scientists observe the world and universe around them and discover how things work. When they find something consistent enough that they can count on it always working that way they call it a law. It didn't have to be "written" by anyone. While I believe God did create the universe and everything in it, and the laws, discovered and undiscovered, I don't believe He did it in the way Genesis describes. And I can see how science can go on discovering these "laws" without reference to God. The Physical/Spiritual Duality of the Universe means that we can explain the Universe either way or both and still reach the truth. What we cannot do is ignore the facts found in creation in favor of a myth that has so many holes in it that it is unbelievable to anyone who thinks for themselves.

"Jesus was confronted with a similar aspect when He was asked..." why do you speak to the people in parables ? " He said.." because they will not understand and believe the truth if I tell them as their hearts are not open to it." "

Gee, I always thought that was why he didn't tell them about evolu

Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla2 years ago

I hope so, we need science!

William Eaves
William Eaves2 years ago

Religious nutters and education just do not mix.

BTW The subject is called "maths" not "math", short for mathematics not 'mathematic'. But then spelling was never one of the USA's strong points. Probably because there are so many religious nutters there.