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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2015/11/20

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

A disappointing vote from the Texas state board of education. And
there are still seats available for NCSE's 2016 excursion to the Grand
Canyon.

EXPERTISE REJECTED IN TEXAS

At its meeting on November 18, 2015, the Texas state board of
education voted 8-7 to reject a proposal to add "a state review panel
that could include college and university scholars assigned
specifically to look for factual errors" in textbooks submitted for
adoption in Texas, according to the Austin American-Statesman
(November 18, 2015).

Although the proposal was considered on the heels of a controversy in
Houston involving a geography textbook in which a photograph caption
described slaves in the United States as "workers," Thomas Ratliff,
the board member who suggested the new panel, said that he had it in
mind ever since his election to the board in 2011.

The current review process is designed to ascertain only whether
textbooks are aligned to the state's standards; review panels are not
charged with performing a systematic review for accuracy. "We need
more experts looking at these books and catching factual errors before
the fact, not after they've made it to the classroom," Ratliff
commented.

NCSE's Josh Rosenau expressed disappointment at the vote. "In the
past, a handful of reviewers have tried to undermine the treatment of
evolution and climate change in Texas's schools by offering misguided
criticism of the textbooks submitted for adoption," he commented,
alluding to the 2013 textbook review process in particular.

Then, as NCSE reported, the board quarreled about whether to heed a
review panel's criticisms of Kenneth R. Miller and Joseph Levine's
popular biology textbook, published by Pearson, but decided to adopt
it, contingent on the outcome of a further review by a panel of three
outside experts selected by members of the board.

Ultimately, the panel unanimously approved the book and it was
adopted. "The resolution to the controversy over the Miller and Levine
textbook in 2013 shows that the board understands the relevance of
actual expertise in assessing the content of textbooks," Rosenau said.
"It's a shame that it couldn't summon the will to make expert review a
matter of routine."

For the story in the Austin American-Statesman, visit:
http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/texas-education-board-could-add-extra-layer-of-tex/npQYj/ 

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Texas, visit:
http://ncse.com/news/texas 

NCSE AND THE GRAND CANYON 2016

Explore the Grand Canyon with NCSE! Reservations are still available
for NCSE's next excursion to the Grand Canyon -- as featured in the
documentary No Dinosaurs in Heaven. From June 30 to July 8, 2016, NCSE
will again explore the wonders of creation and evolution on a Grand
Canyon river run conducted by NCSE's Steve Newton and Josh Rosenau.

Because this is an NCSE trip, we offer more than just the typically
grand float down the Canyon, the spectacular scenery, fascinating
natural history, brilliant night skies, exciting rapids, delicious
meals, and good company. It is, in fact, a unique "two-model" raft
trip, on which we provide both the creationist view of the Grand
Canyon (maybe not entirely seriously) and the evolutionist view -- and
let you make up your own mind. To get a glimpse of the fun, watch the
short videos filmed in 2011, posted on NCSE's YouTube channel, and
explore photographs by 2015's rafters in the expedition's Flickr
group. The cost of the excursion is $2790; a deposit of $500 will hold
your spot. Seats are limited: call, write, or e-mail now.

And, for the second time, NCSE will offer scholarships to two lucky
teachers, giving them a unique opportunity to spend eight days
exploring the geology and natural history of the Canyon. (Alyson
Miller and Scott Hatfield wrote about their experiences on the trip on
NCSE's blog.) Your donations to the scholarship fund help to make the
scholarship program possible.

For information about the excursion, visit:
http://ncse.com/about/excursions/gcfaq 

For information about No Dinosaurs in Heaven, visit:
http://www.nodinos.com/ 

For the videos and photographs, visit:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ll7kG8dPfgM&list=UUXlZRCBefkIvRuv5zUrXEdg 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSfTH9Gl2CM&list=UUXlZRCBefkIvRuv5zUrXEdg 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD4xmkEbgqk&list=UUXlZRCBefkIvRuv5zUrXEdg 
https://www.flickr.com/groups/2898601@N22/pool/ 

For Miller and Hatfield's blog posts about their experiences, visit:
http://ncse.com/blog/2015/08/reflections-2015-ncse-grand-canyon-rafting-trip-0016559 
http://ncse.com/blog/2015/10/what-teacher-learned-grand-canyon-0016684 

And for information about donating to the scholarship fund, visit:
https://ncse.secure.force.com/GCscholarship 

WHAT'S NEW FROM THE SCIENCE LEAGUE OF AMERICA

Have you been visiting NCSE's blog, The Science League of America,
recently? If not, then you've missed:

* Josh Rosenau offering a skeptical case for climate education:
http://ncse.com/blog/2015/11/skeptical-case-climate-education-0016747 

* Glenn Branch pondering the first chapter of Henshaw Ward's Evolution
for John Doe:
http://ncse.com/blog/2015/10/evolution-john-doe-part-1-0016663 
http://ncse.com/blog/2015/11/evolution-john-doe-part-2-0016664 
http://ncse.com/blog/2015/11/evolution-john-doe-part-3-0016665 
http://ncse.com/blog/2015/11/evolution-john-doe-part-4-0016666 

* Minda Berbeco contemplating the consequences of climate change denial:
http://ncse.com/blog/2015/11/what-did-exxon-know-0016744 

And much more besides!

For The Science League of America, visit:
http://ncse.com/blog 

Thanks for reading. And don't forget to visit NCSE's website --
http://ncse.com -- where you can always find the latest news on 
evolution and climate education and threats to them.

--
Sincerely,

Glenn Branch
Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
420 40th Street, Suite 2
Oakland, CA 94609-2509
510-601-7203 x303
fax: 510-601-7204
800-290-6006
branch@ncse.com 
http://ncse.com 

Check out NCSE's new blog, Science League of America:
http://ncse.com/blog 

Read Reports of the NCSE on-line:
http://reports.ncse.com 

Subscribe to NCSE's free weekly e-newsletter:
http://groups.google.com/group/ncse-news 

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http://www.facebook.com/evolution.ncse 
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http://ncse.com/join