Texas: so, so doomed

The entire universe in blog form
Nov. 29 2007 10:02 AM

Texas: so, so doomed

Update: Welcome, readers of Crooks and Liars! You may want to read the next blog post in this series when you finish the one below. This story gets better and better.

What the heck is wrong with Texas?

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death from the Skies!  

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And now, when Chris Comer, the Texas Education Agency's director of science curriculum, sends out an email announcing a talk by anti_creationism advocate Barbara Forrest, the TEA forces her to resign.

Why? Hold on to your seats here, folks, because you won't believe this:

[Texas Education] Agency officials cited the e-mail in a memo recommending her termination. They said forwarding the e-mail not only violated a directive for her not to communicate in writing or otherwise with anyone outside the agency regarding an upcoming science curriculum review, "it directly conflicts with her responsibilities as the Director of Science."

The memo adds, "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."

That's right, the Texas Education Agency must remain neutral when it comes to science versus antiscience!

If a speaker came advocating astronomy over astrology, would that cause problems for TEA? How about an HIV denier? Could they speak out against such a person?

Funny. I would think that it would one of TEA's biggest goals to promote science over antiscience, and to actually teach people the difference between reality and fantasy.

So Ms. Comer has been forced to resign, and she claims that it is political in nature, and that she is being railroaded. I am of the very strong opinion that she is absolutely correct. It's very clear that at most she might have deserved to be reprimanded for sending out the email, even if the TEA policy about neutrality is really stupid. But if you read the whole article you'll see that petty politics and pro-creationist administrators are behind this.

As noted anti-creationist Genie Scott commented in the article,

"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."

As you might expect, PZ has some things to say about this as well. So does Josh. In fact, expect to see this news hitting the science blogosphere like a bomb.

The fight against antiscience, the fight against theocracy, the fight against nonsense will never stop, because their minions are always lurking somewhere. Keep fighting, people. We must never tire. Because if we do:

Texas: