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Evolution Debate Led to Ouster, Official Says

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  • William T Goodall
    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS AUSTIN, Tex., Nov. 29 (AP) — The state’s director of science curriculum said she resigned this month under pressure from officials
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 1, 2007
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      "By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
      AUSTIN, Tex., Nov. 29 (AP) — The state’s director of science
      curriculum said she resigned this month under pressure from officials
      who said she had given the appearance of criticizing the teaching of
      intelligent design.

      The Texas Education Agency put the director, Chris Comer, on 30 days’
      paid administrative leave in late October, resulting in what Ms. Comer
      called a forced resignation.

      The move came shortly after she forwarded an e-mail message announcing
      a presentation by Barbara Forrest, an author of “Creationism’s Trojan
      Horse.” The book argues that creationist politics are behind the
      movement to get intelligent design theory taught in public schools.
      Ms. Comer sent the message to several people and a few online
      communities.

      Ms. Comer, who held her position for nine years, said she believed
      evolution politics were behind her ousting. “None of the other reasons
      they gave are, in and of themselves, firing offenses,” she said.

      Education agency officials declined to comment Wednesday on the
      matter. But they explained their recommendation to fire Ms. Comer in
      documents obtained by The Austin American-Statesman through the Texas
      Public Information Act.

      “Ms. Comer’s e-mail implies endorsement of the speaker and implies
      that T.E.A. endorses the speaker’s position on a subject on which the
      agency must remain neutral,” the officials said.

      The agency documents say that officials recommended firing Ms. Comer
      for repeated acts of misconduct and insubordination.

      The officials said forwarding the e-mail message conflicted with her
      job responsibilities and violated a directive that she not communicate
      with anyone outside the agency regarding a pending science curriculum
      review.

      The documents criticize Ms. Comer for giving a presentation and
      attending an off-site meeting without approval. It also said she had
      complained that “there was no real leadership at the agency.”"

      --
      William T Goodall
      Mail : wtg@...
      Web : http://www.wtgab.demon.co.uk
      Blog : http://radio.weblogs.com/0111221/

      "There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant
      market share. No chance" - Steve Ballmer


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    • William T Goodall
      http://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/2007/11/dont_mess_with_texas_education.html Don’t mess with Texas education - November 30, 2007 Attitudes to
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 3, 2007
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        http://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/2007/11/dont_mess_with_texas_education.html

        "Don’t mess with Texas education - November 30, 2007
        Attitudes to education differ round the world, but things are looking
        pretty odd in Texas right now. The director of the state’s science
        curriculum is claiming she was forced out for forwarding an email. Its
        content was not a risqué joke or a sleazy photo: it was a note about a
        forthcoming lecture by a philosopher who has been heavily involved in
        debates over creationism.

        The Statesman reports that the Texas Education Agency had recommended
        firing Chris Comer for repeated misconduct and insubordination (the
        details of which are unclear) before she resigned. But Comer and
        others are saying she was forced out for seeming to endorse criticism
        of intelligent design. An agency memo, according to the Statesman,
        said: “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.”

        In other news, a new international ranking of the science ability of
        15 year olds has been conducted by the OECD. The US is below average,
        a little under Latvia. Finland tops the chart. Those with spare time
        might find it interesting to compare this chart of the new OECD
        ranking, with this chart of belief in evolution."

        [About the OECD study]

        http://www.pisa.oecd.org/document/40/0,3343,en_32252351_32235731_39701864_1_1_1_1,00.html

        [The OECD data chart]

        http://www.pisa.oecd.org/dataoecd/42/8/39700724.pdf

        [Evolution acceptance chart]

        http://tinyurl.com/rh4mt

        The USA is at the bottom of the evolution chart between Latvia and
        Turkey - two countries that also rank statistically significantly
        below the OECD average for science education.



        --
        William T Goodall
        Mail : wtg@...
        Web : http://www.wtgab.demon.co.uk
        Blog : http://radio.weblogs.com/0111221/

        "Two years from now, spam will be solved." - Bill Gates, 2004


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