Proposed social studies textbooks for Texas public schools will not include climate-change denial. In late reversals, two publishing heavyweights, Pearson Education and McGraw-Hill, have both confirmed that they will submit corrected textbooks this week at the SBOE. TFN distributed the following news release in response to the corrections.
Publishers have agreed to correct or remove inaccurate passages promoting climate change denialism from new social studies textbooks proposed for Texas public schools, a coalition of science and education groups announced this afternoon. This news comes as the State Board of Education prepares for a second public hearing on the proposed textbooks and a final vote on which texts to approve for Texas schools. The textbooks will likely be sold in other states as well.
Prior to today, publishers Pearson Education, WorldView Software and Studies Weekly Publications had already submitted to Texas education officials revisions to textbook passages that had included inaccurate information about climate change. The original passages had cast doubt on the overwhelming consensus among climate scientists that climate change is a real and growing threat and that human activity is the primary driver of the problem. Today publisher McGraw-Hill confirmed to the Texas Freedom Network (TFN) that it will remove a deeply problematic lesson that equated unsupported arguments from a special interest-funded political advocacy group, the Heartland Institute, with data-backed material from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a Nobel-winning organization of scientists from around the world.
“We applaud these publishers for responsibly listening to scholars and the tens of thousands of people from across the country who have signed petitions insisting that the textbooks put education and facts ahead of politics,” TFN President Kathy Miller said today. “We hope they will stand firm in their decision and resist pressure from politicians on the state board to lie to students about one of the biggest challenges facing our planet.”
Petitions calling on publishers to correct their textbooks have collected more than 116,000 signatures. The petitions have been sponsored by the Texas Freedom Network, National Center for Science Education (NCSE), Climate Parents, Daily Kos and CREDO Mobilize.
Josh Rosenau, programs and policy director at NCSE, also praised the publishers’ decisions to remove the scientifically inaccurate information from their textbooks.
“Pearson, McGraw-Hill and the other publishers did the right thing by making these changes,” Rosenau said. “They listened to us and the nation’s leading scientific and educational societies, ensuring that students will learn the truth about the greatest challenge they’ll confront as citizens of the 21st century. These publishers should be proud.”
Lisa Hoyos, director of the national organization Climate Parents, noted the importance of telling students the truth about climate change at a time when the science is under political attack across the country.
“There is a dangerous attack on climate science in our country, from Congress to the classroom,” Hoyos said. “We are thrilled that Pearson, McGraw-Hill and there other publishers chose to stand with students, and to remove misinformation about the causes of climate change from their texts. These publishers need to resist any pushback from climate deniers on the Texas State Board of Education and to commit to tell nothing but the truth in the materials they produce for our kids.”
The State Board of Education will hold its second public hearing and take a preliminary vote on the proposed textbooks on Tuesday (November 18). The board is set to take a final vote on Friday. The textbooks will go into classrooms beginning in the 2015-16 school year.
The Texas Freedom Network (TFN) is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization of community and religious leaders who support public education, religious freedom and individual liberties. The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to defending the teaching of evolution and climate change. Climate Parents is a national clean energy advocacy organization that also promotes climate science education in schools.