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Dunn, David E.1, Edward C. Roy2
(1) University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX
(2) Trinity University, San Antonio, TX

ABSTRACT: Earth Science Education in Texas: Tragedy Averted?

Responding to 1999 legislation requiring a high school exit test covering " - - - at least biology and integrated chemistry and physics," the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) eliminated earth science from the list of courses accepted for high school core science graduation credit.
Events leading to the appointment of an Earth Science Task Force (ESTF) by the Committee on Instruction of the SBOE were reported in 2002 by GSA Today, Geotimesand the AAPG Explorer. From July, 2002 through June, 2003 the ESTF met seven times at locations throughout Texas and heard testimony from 45 individuals. The ESTF submitted its final report on June 26, 2003 and will present its recommendations to the Committee on Instruction on September 11, 2003. Action on those recommendations cannot occur before the SBOE meeting in November.
Recommended immediate actions include: (1) designating specified earth science courses as an option for core science credit in the Recommended and Distinguished Achievement Plans; (2) requring four years of science in the Distinguished Achievement Plan, one of which should be earth science; and (3) implementing an eighth grade science assessment including earth and space science concepts. Longer term recommendations address aligning Texas and national science education standards, including earth science in high school exit testing, revising certain earth science courses, moving to four years of science for all high school graduates, and reinstating certification for earth science teachers.
Because the submission deadline for this abstract preceded the critical September and November SBOE meetings, it is premature to claim success now.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90026©2004 AAPG Annual Meeting, Dallas, Texas, April 18-21, 2004.