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, maintenance of an informational list serve, 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.
EVOLUTION IN OKLAHOMA AND TEXAS: A ROAD TRIP.
Thursday May 30 thru Sunday June 2, 2013
By all accounts, the road trip was a big success. Dr. Rice is reporting on the road trip at his blog:
Part One, The World of the Past
Part Two, The World of the Past, continued
Part Three, Dinosaurs and the Humans Who Are Still Looking for Them
Part Four, Dinosaur Tracks
Part Five, Final Discussions
TALK ON OESE HISTORY, ACTIVITIES, AND LEGISLATIVE EXPERIENCES, 14 JUNE.
Victor Hutchison will give a slide presentation on Friday, 14 June, noon at Catering Creations, 3750 West Main, Norman, OK, west of I 35 at 36th Avenue (in small strip mall just southwest of Kinko's). 'Charles Darwin' will be a special guest! Sponsored by Cleveland County Democrats, 'Cornbread and Beans,' optional lunch of cornbread and beans or salad available at 11:15 for $6. The talk is open to all.
Middle School and High School Science Teachers Needed for Survey
Greetings Middle School and High School Science Teachers!
My name is Nicole Colston and I am a PhD student in Environmental Science at Oklahoma State University. I hope to solicit the participation of 5th-12th grade science teachers in Oklahoma for my on-line survey. This study is part of my dissertation research about science teaching and learning in Oklahoma, titled "Tracing the Flow: Climate Change Education Actor-Networks in Oklahoma Secondary School Science".
The questionnaire will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. You will be asked questions about your personal experiences as a science teacher in Oklahoma, including your access to resources, curriculum choices, and science education practices. I am particularly interested in your attitudes and opinions about climate change education in school science.
After you complete the survey, you will have the opportunity to enter to win one of five $20 VISA gift cards! This information will be collected via an independent link and will not be connected to your survey responses. However, if you wish to remain anonymous, simply decline to enter your contact information at the end of the survey and decline to participate in the prize drawing.
To participate in the survey, please click on the link below:
Please share this opportunity with other MS and HS Science Teachers in Oklahoma!
Your response will be very helpful for the success of this study. Information gathered from teachers across the state could be used to support efforts to improve the experiences of science teachers and learners in Oklahoma schools.
At the end of the survey, the researcher will request your permission to contact you about future research opportunities, including: 1) a potential follow-up interview by phone with the researcher 2) a potential focus group with other science teachers.
All respondents personal contact information, questionnaire responses, and name will remain confidential. The data reports will not identify the respondents or release personal information. Research records will be securely stored and only the principal investigator will have access to the records.
For more information, please see the attached Informed Consent and Project Information Sheet.
Coming this Fall: Workshop for Teachers: Science of Climate Change and Variability
Weekend workshop (Sept. 20-22, 2013) at the University of Oklahoma Biological Station on Lake Texoma
Topics include current climate science, inquiry-based learning, state curriculum and classroom issues
Workshop organized and sponsored by: Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education, Oklahoma Climatological Survey, National Science Foundation, and The University of Oklahoma Biological Station
Here is the workshop application form. Registration deadline is September 10.
Check out the flyer for more information.
Anti-science bills in 2013 Oklahoma Legislature all died
Oklahoma bills promoting anti-evolution, anti-science courses in public schools, either died in committee or were not heard on the House floor before adjournment of the Legislature. The Legislature adjourned Sine Die on 24 May, a week earlier than the deadline.
HB 1674 (Rep, Blackwell, 'Science Education and Academic Freedom Act') and SB 758 (Sen., Brecheen, 'Oklahoma Science Education Act') are dead for this year. Like previous attempts these bills are not authored by scientists and there is no evidence that qualified scientists had any input into the texts of the bills; they are based on templates provided by the creationist Discovery Institute and similar to bills attempted in other states.
In addition two other bills that could be bad for science education were similarly defeated. HB 1940 and HB 1456, both essentially identical 'Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Acts', keep coming up each year, despite being killed each year and once being vetoed by Governor Brad Henry. It is now law in Texas, where it has apparently not been placed into operation by any school district, despite contrary comments by one of the bills' author before the House Education Committee.
The demise of these bills this year can be attributed to the large number of messages sent to the appropriate committees by national and state organizations and the individuals who responded to requests to help. To all who did, THANK YOU – your efforts paid off as usual! None of these types of bill have passed during the past 13 years! However, we will likely have to continue opposition next year. The authors of these bills, and their supportive legislators, continue to be anti-science and, in many ways, anti-education.
This year's OESE's efforts were praised by the NCSE and Okie Funk.
The MIT Survey on Science, Religion and Origins: the Belief Gap
We present a detailed survey of how different US faith communities view origins science, particularly evolution and Big Bang cosmology. We find a striking gap between people's personal beliefs and the official views of the faiths to which they belong. Whereas Gallup reports that 46% of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form less than 10,000 years ago, we find that only 11% belong to religions openly rejecting evolution. This shows that the main divide in the origins debate is not between science and religion, but between a small fundamentalist minority and mainstream religious communities who embrace science. The fact that the gap between personal and official beliefs is so large suggests that part of the controversy might be defused by people learning more about their own religious doctrine and the science it endorses, thereby bridging this belief gap.
OU Religious Studies Journal article
Nolan Kraszkiewicz, an OU senior, has published a paper that examines the history and implications of the Creationism/Intelligent Design vs. Evolution debate raging in America's schools, courts, and churches. Link to the paper is here.
Video of Judge Jones talk in Norman
The video of the talk at the OU Law School on December 6 in Norman by Judge John E. Jones III, on "The U.S. Constitution's Intelligent Design" is available from the Maiinstream Baptist.
Darwin interviews Dr. Victor Hutchison
Board member Dr. Stanley Rice has added an interview with Dr. Victor Hutchison to his YouTube channel, http://youtu.be/IW2MRpkyVEM discussing evolution in Oklahoma. Dr. Rice's channel can be accessed at http://www.youtube.com/stanEvolve.
Dr. Victor Hutchison recipient of Oklahoma Academy of Science's Award of Merit
OESE founder Dr. Victor Hutchison was named winner of the Oklahoma Academy of Science's Award of Merit at the November 9, 2012, Annual Technical Meeting of the group, at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. The award was given for "His Noteworthy Contributions to Science Education in the State of Oklahoma and the Nation". Congratulations Vic!
Bethany Lorenz named Outstanding Biology Teacher for Oklahoma
OESE congratulates Board member Bethany Lorenz, the 2012 recipient of the Outstanding Biology Teacher Award for Oklahoma from the National Association of Biology Teachers. The award is given each year to a life science teacher in each state who demonstrates exemplary practice in the teaching of life science. Lorenz has been a biology teacher at Putnam North High School since 2001. She teaches sereral inclusion classes in which special education students are mainstreamed, and uses judicious groups of students to implement peer tutoring and leadership. Lorenz said "I believe that all students can learn. They may learn at different rates, but they all have the capacity to learn." Congratulations Bethany! More information at the Oklahoma Science Teachers Assocation web site.
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 the eighth workshop for high school teachers on teaching evolution at the University Biological Station on Lake Texoma, 5 -7 October, 2012. For the first time teachers from north Texas were included. OESE is considering offering future workshops on the science of climate change. Look for announcements next year!
When your email program starts up, enter subscribe in the body of the message, then send the email.
The OKEVOL-L List Serve was established to alert and inform
all interested parties in the evolution/creationism debate in
Oklahoma. Messages will be sent only with approval of the list
managers so that traffic will be kept to a minimum. Information on
proposed legislative actions dealing with attempts to place
creationist materials into public schools, important scheduled public
meetings or debates on evolution/creationism, and any significant
other news items dealing with these issues or related items on
attempts at inappropriate or unconstitutional censorship will be
sent to subscribers.
Click here to unsubscribe from the list serve.
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. The goals of COPUS are:
- Building the COPUS network - Underpinning the COPUS effort is a growing network of organizations and individuals who share a common goal: engaging sectors of the public in science and increasing their appreciation and understanding of the scientific enterprise. Find out more about participating in the COPUS Network.here
- Developing state-level benchmark science-indicator reports on the importance of science to the U.S. economy and standard-of-living
- Supporting a national effort to promote the public understanding of science in a year-long celebration: Year of Science 2009 (also available: Year of Science 2009 fact sheet [PDF])
- Integrating efforts with the Understanding Science website project currently under development at the University of California, Berkeley