Biology Textbook Review Week in Texas

by Dan Quinn

Teams made up of educators, parents and other community members from around Texas are meeting in Austin to complete their reviews of textbooks and other instructional materials in science that publishers have submitted for the state’s public schools. The teams are meeting to determine whether the proposed materials conform to the state’s Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, or TEKS, curriculum standards for science.

This week teams for the high school courses, including biology, are meeting. The curriculum standards for those courses, adopted by the State Board of Education in 2009, are particularly controversial. Creationists on the state board succeeded in adding standards they hoped would force publishers to include junk science arguments against evolution in their new materials.

The Texas Freedom Network Education Fund asked two science academics to review the most problematic standards shortly after they were adopted. We published a report of their work, which includes their analysis of the problematic standards and how publishers can responsibly address them. You can find the report here.

We will be monitoring the progress of the review teams, but their reports will not be available until later in August or September. The state board will hold a public hearing on the proposed textbooks and instructional materials in September. Stay tuned.


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