Saturday, December 01, 2007

TEA Clearing a Path For Intelligent Design?

It is fairly unnoticed, but a singular event occurred recently at the Texas Education Agency. In a fairly comprehensive article by Laura Heinauer at the Austin American Statesman, it was revealed that Chris Comer, the TEA’s director of science curriculum, a 9-year veteran of science wars on the TEA, has been fired recently by the TEA on charges that she showed bias toward one point of view with regards to science instruction.

The charges were leveled by one Lizzette Reynolds, a recent TEA hire, who came to the TEA from an appointed position at the Bush Administration’s Department of Education, and was previously a legislative director for then Governor George W. Bush. Reynolds was recently hired at the TEA as a “senior adviser on statewide initiatives”.

The charge? You’re actually not going to believe it. The charge was that Chris Comer was publicly displaying her bias with regard to a Bushie Science Favorite: Intelligent Design. In an email simply titled “FYI”, Ms. Comer informed a short list of people about an upcoming speaking event by Barbara Forrest, author of “Inside Creationism's Trojan Horse” a book that describes how Creationists are behind the political movement to introduce “intelligent design” into schools’ science curriculum.

Comer was given a 30-day paid suspension for that infraction last October, giving her antagonists enough time to dredge up other trivial charges that were eventually listed as causes for termination.

In short, Chris Comer was fired for having an opinion on science instruction. An opinion that she felt free to share with colleagues.

This is what I know about science: when science becomes a political football, science is doomed. When science is doomed, technology is close on its heels. Our society is in large part based on technology. When science becomes all about a political hack’s personal religious agenda, we all begin to suffer.

The names Chris Comer and Galileo Galileii have probably never appeared in the same sentence ever in history, but they have now. And the reason that they have has everything to do with religious persecution, persecution of a person based on their ideas and opinions that don’t agree with another’s religion.

And again, we find a Texas governmental agency in the spotlight, and again, find Texas to be a laughingstock in the world arena.


TXsharon said...

This is a profoundly sad story. Sad on many levels and for many people.

The cartoon is too real.

Anonymous said...

Someone at the TEA should send out an email stating that in his scientific opinion, mental illness is not caused by the spirits of long-dead aliens killed by a volcanic explosion. If that doesn't get him suspended, I'd think Ms. Comer has a lawsuit to file.

Unknown said...

In light of the recent dismissal of Chris Comer's lawsuit, I'm wondering if you might change your characterization of this event:

Hal said...

Yes, absolutely.

Instead of this statement:

"Thoughtful educators have next to no chance in a Texas court waging their cause" I would have to change my characterization to this:

"Thoughtful educators have no chance in a Texas court waging their cause."

What, are you kidding Kevin? Since when has Texas or its judicial system ever claimed to give a fair shake to people who are just trying their best to educate the next generation?

Get real, Kevin.