Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education, Inc. is a non-profit educational organization that promotes the education of the public about the methods and values of science and advocates excellence in the science curriculum. Activities include participation in educational and scientific organization conferences, workshops for science teachers, operation of a speakers' bureau, and related activities.
The formation of OESE was prompted by the attempts in the Oklahoma State Textbook Committee in 1999 to diminish the teaching of evolution by the introduction of creationist textbook disclaimers to be inserted into any textbook used in public schools that discussed evolution. There have been bills introduced almost every year since 1999 for legislation that would allow teaching creationism in science courses; OESE has opposed all such attempts.
OESE is seeking members. Memberships are available for $10. Please print and fill out the OESE membership application and mail to the address indicated on the form. Tax-deductable donations are also welcomed. Further info in the OESE brochure.
Recognizing the increased attention climate change education has received in recent years, OESE has added an emphasis on the support of the teaching of climate science in public schools. To that end, we have added links to climate change and climate change denial sites. Many of the recent bills that have attacked the teaching of evolution in the public schools have also included attacks on climate science. We have also added a section on climate and earth science on our teaching resources page.
Anti-science bills in 2014 Oklahoma Legislature
Last year's HB1674, the Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act by Blackwell and Kern, which passed the Common Education Committee by a vote of 9-8 last year but was not heard on the House Floor, was added to this year's House Floor agenda on February 18. Representative Blackwell has filed two floor amendments to the bill. One updates the year that the bill would take affect, and the other removes the specific mention of controversial subjects (evolution, climate change, etc.) in the bill. This follows the tactics used by Senator Brecheen (who is Senate sponsor of the bill) for his SB 1765 in that the bills are getting shorter and more obscure as to what the bill is really about. The bill passed the House, but was not heard by the Senate Education Committee before the April 3 deadline. Thanks to all that sent messages in opposition.
See last year's analysis of the bill for more information. Commentary against the bill is available from the NCSE and from Okie Funk. Commentary on the bill's defeat at Sensuous Curmudgeon and NCSE.
SB 1765 dead
Senator Josh Brecheen has introduced SB 1765, the "Oklahoma Science Education Act". The bill is almost identical to last year's SB 758 encouraging teachers to find effective ways to present
the science curriculum as it addresses scientific controversies. Unlike last year, there is no list of these scientific controversies, but all the code words of creationist legislation are included. Brecheen's SB 758 died in committee last year. Analysis of the bill by OESE's Richard Broughton can be found here. Further information is available at the NCSE web site and Okie Funk.
The American Institute of Biological Sciences has sent a letter in opposition to SB1765 to all members of the Senate Education Committee, as did the National Association of Biology Teachers. More coverage from the NCSE.
The bill was not heard in the Senate Education Committee before the February 24 deadline for bills to be heard in committee. The bill is currently marked as dormant. Thanks to all who voiced opposition to the bill to the committee. Numbers do count.
Second Annual Oklahoma Evolution Road Trip
The Second Annual Oklahoma Evolution Road Trip has been postponed to a later date.
Second Teachers' Workshop On Climate Change & Variability.
The workshop will be held at the University of Oklahoma Biological Station (OUBS) on Lake Texoma from Friday evening, 26 September until Sunday afternoon, 28 September and is co-sponsored by Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education (OESE) and the Oklahoma Climatological Survey. The latter group will supply most of the instructors. Limited to 35 high school science teachers, full scholarships for room, meals, textbooks, etc., will be provided for those selected, thanks to a grant from the DELTA Foundation. High School science teachers and college science education majors from Oklahoma and northern Texas (DFW area northward) are eligible to apply. Professional development certificates will be awarded for those attending. Details on applications will be posted on the here within a few weeks. Eligible teachers should plan now to apply!
Congratulations to OESE board members
Two OESE board members were honored at the Oklahoma Science Teachers Association (OSTA) Awards Recognition reception on Friday, November 1st at the OERB offices near downtown Oklahoma City. Dr. Julie Angle was named OSTA's Outstanding College/University Science Teacher and Deborah Hill was received her award as Oklahoma Science Teacher of the Year from the National Association of Biology Teachers.
In addition, Bethany Lorenz was elected President-elect of the Oklahoma Science Teachers Association and Deborah Hill was elected High School Director for OSTA.
Thank you, DELTA Foundation
We are pleased to announce that the DELTA Foundation has again granted OESE $ 16,339 for two years (2014, 2015) of teacher workshops on climate change and variability to be offered over a weekend at the University of Oklahoma Biological Station. Earlier support from this family foundation was very important in allowing OESE to offer workshops for science teachers and helped make them highly successful. The Board of Governors of OESE expresses our gratitude for this important support that will help advance science education of high school teachers.
The workshop this fall on Climate Change and Variability at the Biological Station attracted many applicants. To accommodate the demand the original limit of 30 was increased to about 38. The workshop this year is supported by an NSF grant to Dr. Cecil Lewis, an OU anthropologist. This is the last year of the NSF grant support. Thus the DELTA grant allows a continuation of the workshops.
Darwin videos on YouTube
Dr. Stan Rice, faculty member at Southeastern Oklahoma State and a Board member of OESE is producing a series of YouTube videos where he portrays Darwin on various topics.
ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL OESE TEACHERS WORKSHOP
OESE held its first workshop for high school teachers on teaching climate change at the University Biological Station on Lake Texoma, 20-22 September, 2013. A good time was had by all.
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Clergy Letter Project: All clergy members are encouraged to go to this link to sign the nationwide outpouring of support for teaching evolution. For too long, the misperception that science and religion are inevitably in conflict has created unnecessary division and conflict concerning the teaching of evolution. The project is also described at the link.
OESE Joins Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science.
Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education (OESE) has joined the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS), organized coordinate efforts to improve public outreach and science education. COPUS is a grassroots effort that builds connections that support a better understanding of the nature of science and its value to society. COPUS is built around three values: community, celebration, and promotion.
We are passionate people promoting good science. By working together as a community, we can build on the cumulative energies, strengths, and perspectives of our members.
Celebrations provide opportunities to reflect on the positive contributions of science to society - besides, science is fun and well worth celebrating!
Science needs good promotion. COPUS facilitates dialogue and shares resources through meaningful person-to-person interactions, making it easier to learn about how science works and why it matters to society.