November 22, 2013
Despite last-minute efforts by some board members and political activists to derail the adoption of two textbooks, the State Board of Education today voted to adopt all of the proposed instructional materials up for adoption for high school biology and environmental science. Throughout the adoption process, publishers refused to make concessions that would have compromised science instruction on evolution and climate change in their textbooks, said Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller.
“It’s hard to overstate the importance of today’s vote, which is a huge win for science education and public school students in Texas,” Miller said. “Four years ago this board passed controversial curriculum standards some members hoped would force textbooks to water down instruction on evolution and climate change. But that strategy has failed because publishers refused to lie to students and parents demanded that their children get a 21st-century education based on established, mainstream science.”
The board voted to adopt all textbooks and instructional materials submitted by 14 publishers for high school biology and high school environmental science. None of those textbooks call into question the overwhelming evidence supporting evolution and climate change science.
The adoption of the Pearson biology textbook is contingent on the review by a panel of three science experts of factual “errors” alleged by an anti-evolution activist who served on the official state review team this summer. The publisher has insisted that the alleged errors are, in fact, accurate representations of established, mainstream science.
The board adopted the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt environmental science textbook after the publisher submitted a document agreeing to revise material that might be outdated. Scientists who have reviewed the publisher’s proposed revisions were satisfied that none of the revisions would compromise the integrity of the science in the textbook, Miller said.
The Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization of religious and community leaders who support public education, religious freedom and individual liberties. The public education and religious liberties watchdog is based in Austin.