End Run to Certify Institute for Creation Research in Texas

| 27 Comments

A Texas legislator has introduced a bill that would exempt any private institution of higher learning from having to acquire a certificate to award a masters degree from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, provided that the institution required the students to complete “substantive course work” and did not accept federal or state funds.

According to a recent press report, the not-so-hidden agenda behind the bill is to certify graduates of the Institute for Creation Research Graduate School to apply for jobs as teachers in the Texas public school system. The ICR is a young-earth-creationist organization that purports to offer a graduate degree in science education with minors in general science, astro/geophysics, biology, and geology. (Steve Schafersman of Texas Citizens for Science argued a year ago that they should be certified to offer a masters in theology, but not in science.)

The ICR 2 years ago moved its headquarters to Texas, where its programs are not accredited. They had been accredited in California by an accrediting agency for Christian schools, one of the founders of which was also a founder of ICR. That accrediting agency, however, is not recognized in Texas. For details, see an article by Glenn Branch in the Reports of the National Center for Science Education.

Lest I appear to pussyfoot, let me state that the upshot is that the bill, if passed, would allow wholly unqualified graduates of a diploma mill to teach science in the public school system in Texas.

Acknowledgment. Thanks to SEA News (Scientists and Engineers for America) for providing the initial reference.

27 Comments

“Accrediting agency for Christian schools” … I presume that meant that Christian schools would accept the credits but not the state school system? And is that different in Texas?

No hidden agenda here, MY, just curious. MrG http://www.vectorsite.net

Disregard, I looked up the link, duh. It’s a very confusing story but it appears that the state of CA bought off on TRACS. Somehow, though, I have skepticism that a graduate degree from the ICR would buy much for a scholar trying to get a job with UCLA.

From The Raw Story:

If a private college doesn’t receive funds from any governmental organization, should they have to be held to any standards or requirements when they award degrees? No, one Texan lawmaker is insisting.

Does that mean that they are not subject to any laws or the US Constitution either? Who the hell do they think feeds and protects them? Good grief where did this jerk get his brain; out of a slaughter house?

You’re damned right they should be held to standards. As long as they live in the nest with the rest of us, they are not permitted to foul the nest and make the rest of us clean it up.

“If you don’t take any federal funds, if you don’t take any state funds, you can do a lot more than some business that does take state funding or federal funding,” Berman says. “Why should you be regulated if you don’t take any state or federal funding?”

So, does Berman think the drug lords smuggling drugs through Texas shouldn’t be regulated or pursued? They don’t take any state or federal funding?

There is nobody in the ICR who is qualified to teach science anywhere at any level. Pseudo-science spread broadly with state and government protections can eventually bring down a society.

Anyone who claims these culture warriors are acting defensively and are being persecuted by larger society is a liar. These people are trying to start a war by their constant unprovoked attacks on civilization.

Wow. Even though I am a Christian, I find this pushing of religious ideology in public schools reprehensible. It’s pathetic to go through all these gyrations just to push your religious beliefs down children’s throats. Give it up already!

mrg said:

Somehow, though, I have skepticism that a graduate degree from the ICR would buy much for a scholar trying to get a job with UCLA.

That’s my Bachelor’s alma mater – I hope to hell not! But I would love to be on a search committee that came across one of their applications. I’d almost have to call them in for an interview just for the entertainment value. I would even fly them in on my own dime so as not to spend the university’s resources. It would be totally worth it.

“Accrediting agency for Christian schools” … I presume that meant that Christian schools would accept the credits but not the state school system? And is that different in Texas?

I don’t understand all the details, but to teach in the public schools, you must have a degree from an accredited curriculum. Accrediting agencies are private entities, and they accredit curriculums or degrees, not schools. Anyone can set up an accrediting agency and accredit any curriculum; the problem is to get the state to recognize the accreditation. If the state does not recognize the accreditation, then, for example, the holder of a degree cannot be certified to teach in the public schools. Evidently, Henry Morris (the founder of ICR) thought he could not get ICR accredited, so eventually they set up their own accrediting agency, Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. See Glenn Branch’s article, linked above. TRACS is not recognized in Texas, hence the need for the bill.

Republicans have a bare majority of two in the State House of Representatives, and not all the Republicans State Representatives are as loony as the Texas GOP most certainly is. So while I would not be completely shocked if the bill passes, I suspect that with enough hue and cry about the real intent of the bill, it will most likely not go anywhere.

“If you don’t take any federal funds, if you don’t take any state funds, you can do a lot more than some business that does take state funding or federal funding,” Berman says. “Why should you be regulated if you don’t take any state or federal funding?”

because the State of Texas issues licenses and certificates which may have “a Degree from an Accredited College or University” as a requirement. - like a license to be an EMT or a nurse etc. or

because the State of Texas may hire people for jobs - and those jobs may have requirements for “a Degree from an Accredited College or University” (like Teachers)

or

because one of the things that the State of Texas does is accredit institutions of higher learning regardless of weather or not they take state funds - to prevent ‘degree mills’ from operating as universities in your state

So, does Berman think the drug lords smuggling drugs through Texas shouldn’t be regulated or pursued? They don’t take any state or federal funding?

Hey, drug lords wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for all the massive government aid they receive!

They ARE drug lords only because selling illegal drugs is so obscenely profitable. If their products were legal, and perhaps controlled as tobacco and alcohol are, there would BE no drug lords. Drug cartels depend upon hypocritical laws that make their business illegal and allow them to demand whatever price they can get away with from their customers. Drug lords WANT the state and federal governments to keep spending billions on drug “enforcement.” It’s what makes them rich.

Actually, I think we’d be ahead to legalize (and control) the products and continue sending billions to the drug lords so they can continue their present lifestyles. At least then they’d be out of the murder and kidnapping business. On second thought, I bet they’d still be in the crime business: bribing lawmakers to restore the prohibition laws that make them richer and more powerful than small nations!

So if a medical school didn’t take government funds, should their training be completely unregulated and their graduates still have “MD” after their names?

It’s a moronic and simplistic argument. Yet strangely, these people seem to be moronic and simplistic.

Mike of Oz said:

So if a medical school didn’t take government funds, should their training be completely unregulated and their graduates still have “MD” after their names?

Well, you know, if they study a REAL science, like Astrology!

It’s a moronic and simplistic argument.

It’s not actually an argument at all. It’s a rationalization confected in the interests of preaching creationism in public school. And the rationalization need not be plausible, or coherent, or widely applicable in any way. It is a narrow excuse with a narrow purpose even its proponents have no desire to see expanded beyond the immediate goal of preaching in public school.

And I imagine these people rather resent the thumpingly consistent history of legal decisions that prohibits them from writing their religious doctrines straight into the law (complete with praises to Jesus and God and the like), and instead forces them into code phrases, circumlocutions, the appearance of generalities, and the accidental application to unintended cases.

It’s not that they want to omit their gods from the laws, it’s that they have to craft godly laws without quite saying so, clearly enough so that the godly will support them but hopefully indirectly enough to fool the courts. They do NOT want incompetent surgeons, they want DEVOUT surgeons. Now, how to word this so as to squeeze through the eye of the legal needle…

The Raw Story says:

If a private college doesn’t receive funds from any governmental organization, should they have to be held to any standards or requirements when they award degrees? No, one Texan lawmaker is insisting.

Texas State Representative Leo Berman has proposed House Bill 2800, which would exempt any private non-profit institution that requires students to complete “substantive course work” from having to acquire a certificate of authority from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board(THECB). “If you don’t take any federal funds, if you don’t take any state funds, you can do a lot more than some business that does take state funding or federal funding,” Berman says. “Why should you be regulated if you don’t take any state or federal funding?”

Well, Texas barbers are regulated, despite not taking any state or federal funding:

http://www.license.state.tx.us/barb[…]/barbers.htm

I suppose Berman’s position is that haircuts are more important than education.

Note that this proposal is far wider than the ICR. If it passes, Texas will become a magnet for all sorts of privately funded schools of astrology, phrenology, homeopathy, holocaust denial, racism, magnetic cures, etc.

I suppose Berman’s position is that haircuts are more important than education.

Note that this proposal is far wider than the ICR.

Yes, as I noted above, this is what happens when those trying to narrowly introduce specific creationist doctrines into the public education system are prohibited from explicitly stating what they’re introducing. So they must resort to indirect approaches which inadvertently open the door to all kinds of unintended nonsense. But everyone knows what they mean, and probably almost everyone knows that no such attempts would survive the first legal challenge.

The underlying goal is to appeal to voters by saying “Look, I tried to get Jeezus into the classrooms. It’s not easy with the Godless forces disallowing straight language.”

[A Texas legislator has introduced a bill that would exempt any private institution of higher learning from having to acquire a certificate to award a masters degree from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, provided that the institution required the students to complete “substantive course work…”]

What could possibly be “substantive” about a 3 word master’s thesis that states, “God did it”?

Note that this proposal is far wider than the ICR. If it passes, Texas will become a magnet for all sorts of privately funded schools of astrology, phrenology, homeopathy, holocaust denial, racism, magnetic cures, etc.

Yes. This bill would just turn Texas into a haven for diploma mills. Any lunatic fringe disciplines or cults could set up shop and grant masters degrees. Scientology, Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, UFO-ology, cryptozoology, and on and on.

Not seeing how it would actually help creos or anyone else. So what if you have a masters degree in prophecy or witch hunting from the Texas ICR? Who in their right mind is going to hire you?

raven said:

Note that this proposal is far wider than the ICR. If it passes, Texas will become a magnet for all sorts of privately funded schools of astrology, phrenology, homeopathy, holocaust denial, racism, magnetic cures, etc.

Yes. This bill would just turn Texas into a haven for diploma mills. Any lunatic fringe disciplines or cults could set up shop and grant masters degrees. Scientology, Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, UFO-ology, cryptozoology, and on and on.

Not seeing how it would actually help creos or anyone else. So what if you have a masters degree in prophecy or witch hunting from the Texas ICR? Who in their right mind is going to hire you?

They could form a school and name it the University of South Central Texas and hand out Master of Science Degrees in Biology/Engineering/Astronomy/Neuroscience or Brain Surgery. Folks in other parts of the country might not be savvy enough to catch it. The degree would, of course, be a lie but it certainly doesn’t seem to bother these folks as long as it satisfies their end.

“Not seeing how it would actually help creos or anyone else. So what if you have a masters degree in prophecy or witch hunting from the Texas ICR? Who in their right mind is going to hire you?”

the state of texas has a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university as a minimum requirement for teacher’s certification

http://www.sbec.state.tx.us/SBECOnl[…]eteacher.asp

“You must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Texas institutions do not offer a degree in education. Every teacher must have an academic major, as well as teacher training courses. The only exemption from the degree requirement is for individuals seeking Career and Technology certification to teach certain courses, such as welding or computer-aided drafting.”

in addition they offer to PAY “Teach for Texas - Texas offers conditional grants to help some future teachers with expenses if those individuals agree to teach in Texas public schools for a specified period of time.”

note that the funds are to the teacher - not the college/university

the proposed bill would open the door to lowering the standards for teachers in Texas - while taxpayers’ money would (eventually) be funneled to crackpot ‘institutions’ like ICR

raven, I don’t think they’ve thought through the implications of the bill. As far as they are concerned, this would open the door for allowing ICR to be regarded, at least in the state of Texas, as an officially accredited institution of higher learning. They’re not worried about the prospect of having potential schools devoted to phrenology, pastafarianism, UFOology, or even Klingon Cosmology:

raven said:

Note that this proposal is far wider than the ICR. If it passes, Texas will become a magnet for all sorts of privately funded schools of astrology, phrenology, homeopathy, holocaust denial, racism, magnetic cures, etc.

Yes. This bill would just turn Texas into a haven for diploma mills. Any lunatic fringe disciplines or cults could set up shop and grant masters degrees. Scientology, Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, UFO-ology, cryptozoology, and on and on.

Not seeing how it would actually help creos or anyone else. So what if you have a masters degree in prophecy or witch hunting from the Texas ICR? Who in their right mind is going to hire you?

Wayne F said: They could form a school and name it the University of South Central Texas…

Nah, they’ll go all Texas-patriotic and name it the Sam Houston Institute of Technology.

Paul Burnett said:

Wayne F said: They could form a school and name it the University of South Central Texas…

Nah, they’ll go all Texas-patriotic and name it the Sam Houston Institute of Technology.

How about the Texas Academy of Reality Denial?

Amadán said:

How about the Texas Academy of Reality Denial?

I think “University” might work better than “Academy”. But you might get in trouble wearing a school sweatshirt in public.

MrG http://www.vectorsite.net

“If you don’t take any federal funds, if you don’t take any state funds, you can do a lot more than some business that does take state funding or federal funding,” Berman says. “Why should you be regulated if you don’t take any state or federal funding?”

Excellent idea. So when they get a job in a public school they don’t get any state funding either. Zero pay for zero qualifications.

rossum

jasonmitchell said: “Not seeing how it would actually help creos or anyone else. So what if you have a masters degree in prophecy or witch hunting from the Texas ICR? Who in their right mind is going to hire you?”

the state of texas has a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university as a minimum requirement for teacher’s certification

I tend to agree with raven. Accreditation only means you meet the minimum legal qualifications for a job. But if your school has a poor reputation, as raven says, who in their right mind is going to hire you?

Think of it this way. The school existed as an accredited institution in California for years. No one was banging down their doors to hire their graduates then. Getting accreditation in Texas won’t change that. They should’ve learned from those years of experience that waving around an accreditation paper does not magically conjure up academic reputation.

my objection is that the proposed measure would allow scgoll districts with wrong minded administrators to hire crackpots w/ “bs in life sciences and education’ from the ICR - also would maybe open the door to texas $$ going to the ICR

thats “school” oops

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on March 26, 2009 4:39 PM.

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