End Run to Certify Institute for Creation Research in Texas

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.