Home / News / Rick Perry claims creationism and evolution are taught in Texas schools; Texas Education Agency says state doesn't require teaching of creationism
Rick Perry claims creationism and evolution are taught in Texas schools; Texas Education Agency says state doesn't require teaching of creationism

Rick Perry claims creationism and evolution are taught in Texas schools; Texas Education Agency says state doesn't require teaching of creationism

While Rick Perry was caught in a typical political moment—talking to a child–he was probably wishing he was holding babies, as the child's mother whispered questions for the child to ask the Governor of Texas–about whether Perry believes in evolution.  Perry chose to deadpan a political compromise to the child that some have called a ploy to reach his conservative Christian base for public benefit:

"I know your mom is asking about evolution," he said. "It's a theory that's out there and it's got some gaps in it. In Texas, we teach creationism and evolution because I feel you're smart enough to figure out which one is right."

Perry may have tickled his conservative Christian right wing base with that one, but the state of Texas Education Agency (on par with a state Department of Education) pushed back:

More definitively, Suzanne Marchman, a spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency, the state’s version of the Department of Education, tells NBC, the state’s science standards for high-school biology “require students to analyze, evaluate, and critique, scientific explanations.”

Both Marchman and a representative of the Texas State Teacher's Assocation admitted that creationism could be being discussed in the classroom if it is brought up by students, or it may be teachers plan around the question.  But the State of Texas does not require creationism to be taught, as Perry has suggested.    Teaching creationism is unconstitutional, according to a Supreme Court case in Louisiana which was struck down by the court:

In fact, if it were true that the state of Texas required its public schools to teach both evolution and creationism, that would almost certainly be unconstitutional.

State officials and school officials, though, said there is no Texas law or state education standard requiring the teaching of both. Instead, again, state-education policy requires students to "analyze, evaluate, and critique" the scientific basis for evolution. Defenders of the governor said he was merely describing what often happens in classrooms, as students discuss the merits of evolution versus creationism.

In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that requiring the teaching of creationism, or forbidding the teaching of evolution, violates the separation of church and state. The court struck down a Louisiana law that banned teaching evolution unless accompanied by instruction in creationism.

The law's purpose, wrote Justice William Brennan for the court's majority, "was to restructure the science curriculum to conform with a particular religious viewpoint. Out of many possible science subjects taught in the public schools, the legislature chose to affect the teaching of the one scientific theory that historically has been opposed by certain religious sects."

As far back as 2009 Perry seemed to be trying to tip the scales in creationism's favor when he appointed creationist Gail Lowe over the creationist Cynthia Dunbar to replace creationist Don McLeroy:

Governor Rick Perry – who has even nicer hair than Rod Blagojevich – has appointed Gail Lowe rather than Cynthia Dunbar to head the Texas Board of eduction to replace Don McLeroy. This keeps the board unchanged with 7 to 9 of the 15 votes being evangelical fundamentalist Creationists deciding what Texas children read and learn.

About Dakota O'Leary

Dakota O'Leary is a freethinker, and often sassy, scholar of theology and literature. She got her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Theology from the State University of New York College at Buffalo, and her Master of Arts degree in Theology and Literature from Antioch University-Midwest. She is a contributing writer focusing on eschatology, biblical prophecy, and general religious news. Dakota is a co-host of the God Discussion radio show, offering insight to the news stories of the week. We like to call her "our in-house Biblical prophecy expert" as her articles on eschatology have received over 200,000 views on God Discussion.
  • Aw shucks, in Texas we do things the Godly way!

    I have to find the link … there was an incident where enraged parents stormed out of a presentation by the Science Guy because what he said conflicted with the bible. I am not at a computer but will find that when I get back.


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