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Rule may affect evolution theory in Texas schools

The education board will vote today on whether to drop requirements that 'strengths and weaknesses' of scientific theories must be taught -- a rule that critics say favors religious teachings.

March 27, 2009|Associated Press

AUSTIN, TEXAS — Texas science teachers will no longer be required to teach weaknesses of scientific theory, including evolution, under new curriculum standards tentatively adopted by the State Board of Education on Thursday.

Supporters of evolution hailed the vote but were critical of amendments adopted by the board that they said could create new paths to teaching creationism and the similar theory of intelligent design in public schools.

If given final approval in a vote expected today, the new standards would drop a 20-year-old rule that requires "strengths and weaknesses" of all scientific theories to be taught. Critics of the rule say the requirement is used to undermine the theory of evolution in favor of religious teachings.

The new standards, which would be in place for the next decade, govern what appears on standardized tests and material published in textbooks. As one of the largest textbook purchasers in the nation, Texas has significant influence over the content of books marketed across the country.

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