Big Week for Science Education in Texas: Textbook Debate Moves into Its Final Days

by Dan Quinn

This week the State Board of Education decides whether the next generation of Texas public school students have textbooks that teach 21st-century science or junk science that once again makes the Lone Star State a national laughingstock.

Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams has released the list of textbooks he recommends for adoption, and all of the proposed high school biology textbooks are on the list. The release of the commissioner’s list comes after a months-long process in which anti-evolution activists placed on official state review teams tried to pressure publishers into adding discredited arguments attacking evolution and climate change science to their textbooks. Publishers have so far refused to do so.

The board has scheduled a final public hearing on the textbooks for Wednesday afternoon in Austin. Publishers have made last-minute changes in past textbook adoptions because of pressure from board members. But TFN President Kathy Miller will be among the hearing testifiers calling on board members to stop pressuring publishers and adopt the new textbooks. We will be live-blogging here and Tweeting (@tfn_live) from the hearing.

On Thursday board members will debate the adoption of the textbooks and take a preliminary vote. We expect that vote to happen sometime Thursday afternoon. The final, official vote on the adoption is set for Friday. We will be reporting on TFN Insider and Twitter about the debate and board votes.

TFN staff are still working hard in these final days of the science textbook debate, but we still need your help. On Thursday when board members begin their crucial deliberations over the textbooks, we want to show them the world is watching. Click here to join our Thunderclap — timed Facebook posts and tweets from science supporters around the world, creating a wave of attention.

On Friday we have a chance to celebrate an important victory for science education in Texas. Four years ago creationists on the State Board of Education adopted controversial new curriculum standards they hoped would force publishers to water down instruction on evolution and climate changes in their new textbooks. As the adoption of those new textbooks approaches, join us in ensuring that the misguided strategy of those anti-science extremists ends in complete failure.

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Texas Freedom Network

.@iamjohnoliver used the clip in @LastWeekTonight for a segment on how the history of race in America is taught in schools. (2/2) #txed youtu.be/hsxukOPEdgg