The final vote on Texas High School Biology curriculum was supposed to be a formality. Before the vote could happen, members of the state school board could not avoid taking a step back and getting into one last contentious discussion.
"Well that’s nothing new for this state board, this is what happens when you have politicians who are far too willing to essentially re-write what the experts have been telling them here for years,” said Dan Quinn with the Texas Freedom Network.
The board room fight was over a re-write of a compromise from earlier in the week.
It had been decided to toss out wording that required students to consider "all sides" of scientific theory. The concern was that the language could make biology students wonder if God created life and could also make them have doubts about evolution.
"It was clear I preferred the word evaluate, and now we're at compare and contrast. But I want to be very clear students have the right, this is Texas, you have the right to raise your hand in class and ask honest questions,” said board member Ken Mercer
The San Antonio board member denied he and other conservatives on the Board were trying to sneak religion into a science class. "I keep hearing that, I even offered a reward of a thousand dollars, if you can find god, or Jesus, or Buddha or Mohammad or anybody in our science standards, I'll give you a thousand dollars, It’s not there,” said Mercer.
Last minute tweaking to alter and add wording to the biology curriculum did get board members bickering.
Eventually a break was taken and an expert was consulted. After that the compromise was approved.
"It’s no surprise they got confused and things convoluted. But I think the good news here is that for the first time in 30 years the requirements that have been I the standards attacking evolution have now essentially been stripped and I think that’s a big step forward for science education in Texas,” said Quinn.
The standards will take effect in August of 2018.