Eugenie Scott to Retire From U.S. Center That Fights Antievolution Forces
I heard her speak in a presentation from the NCSE where one of the people she discussed was our old friend, Gov Rick Perry.
Eugenie Scott has spent 26 years helping teachers do what’s right for their students in the name of science. And while the need to defend the teaching of evolution and climate change certainly hasn’t disappeared, Scott announced today that she is stepping down later this year as the founding CEO and “the public face” of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE).
“I think all nonprofits hope someday to put themselves out of business,” says Scott, now 67. “But I guess I found a sinecure,” she adds with a laugh.
Her leadership skills will be sorely missed, says Kenneth Miller, a biology professor at Brown University. “She’s incomparable, irreplaceable, and indispensable,” says Miller, who was a key figure in one of the center’s most decisive victories, a 2005 court case that blunted an attack on evolution by the Dover, Pennsylvania, school district. Scott was masterful at building the coalition needed to win the case, he adds.
The proposed Next Generation Science Standards—a set of voluntary teaching standards being developed by a coalition of states—offer strong support for teaching both evolution and climate change, she says. But that is also likely to mean more pushback from groups opposed to those subjects in the states that eventually adopt the standards. “So we anticipate that teachers will be looking for help,” Scott says. “And it will be up to NCSE and others to figure out ways to help them do what they are supposed to do.”
But uh, appointees of Rick Perry led efforts to block their implementation in Texas.
Already, though, earlier drafts of the plan were already rejected outright by the Texas State Board of Education, despite the fact that some teachers from that state were among the 41-member drafting committee for the new standards.
Because ya know, he and his supporters have other plans for education in Texas.
“I hear your mom was asking about evolution and, you know, it’s a theory that’s out there,” Perry told the boy. “It’s got some gaps in it, but in Texas we teach both creationism and evolution in our public schools, because I figure you’re smart enough to figure out which one is right.”
School funding in Texas is in turmoil. State lawmakers slashed more than $4 billion from education this school year — one of the largest cuts in state history — and more than 12,000 teachers and support staff have been laid off.
Academic programs and transportation have been cut to the bone. Promising reforms are on hold or on the chopping block. Next year, the cuts could go even deeper.
These were on top of the huge reductions made when he refused stimulus funds in 2009.
About half of the education funds cut in the 2011 Texas Legislative session (it only meets every 2 years) has been restored. But that still leaves over $4B in 2009 dollars that have been cut leaving over 12,000 statewide teachers and other staff that need to be rehired in a state whose school age population has exploded over the last few years. The over worked and under paid educators in Texas have failed to deliver on standardized testing and moral has plummeted. As a result, Texas State Public school children have suffered but since those suffering the most are Hispanic, the Texas politics ignore it since they don’t vote for them anyway.