In the first segment:
In last Thursday's Republican debate for Lieutenant Governor, aired on KCEN-TV, three of the four candidates supported teaching creationism in public schools. Later, in the Dallas Morning News the fourth candidate Land Commissioner, Jerry Patterson, said he supported teaching it in public schools, but not in science classes.
"That's why I've supported including in our textbooks the discussion of the Biblical account of life and creation, and I understand there are a lot of people who disagree with me, and believe in evolution." - Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst
Teaching creationism in schools has been ruled unconstitutional, most recently by the 1987 Supreme Court Case Edwards v. Aguillard. Louisiana state schools were mandating creationism be taught alongside evolution. The practice was found to violate the establishment clause of the constitution, as it endorsed a particular religion's account of life's beginning, especially paired with other Louisiana legislative efforts on what "creation science" was defined as.
Knowing that it has been banned, is this display of Christian ideals genuine? Are candidates simply trying to prevent being outflanked by each other on the right? We'll ask James Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas Austin, what he thinks, and also talk with Texas Freedom Network's Dan Quinn about their reaction to the candidates' comments.
In the second segment:
While more and more of our lives are dependent on the science of computers and the coding that makes it possible, most states do not make computer science mandatory in the classroom. The state of computer science education in the U.S. has fallen behind internationally. According to the Computer Science Teachers Association, it's fallen a lot. They note a 17 percent drop in the number of computer science offerings in their report.
If kids aren't computer literate, will it matter? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it does. While Computer Programmers make more than $71,000 per year (or 40 percent more than the average worker's salary), this work can be done from anywhere in the world, and oftentimes is, with companies outsourcing to better prepared work forces.
As Texas Public Radio reported last week, one of many nationwide efforts to get kids coding took place here in San Antonio. Several others are working on moving Texas and the U.S. forward in the computer science race. We talk with several stakeholders in the movement to get kids code literate.