Textbook Censorship

The Texas State Board of Education decides what every student in Texas public schools will learn from kindergarten through high school. The board does so by adopting curriculum standards and textbooks for public schools in the state.

For decades, politicians on the State Board of Education and their activist allies have taken advantage of this flawed system to dismiss the advice of experts and scholars. They have instead worked tod inject their personal views into textbooks on everything from evolution and climate change to the history of slavery, civil rights and separation of church and state.

Resources

The State Board of Education: Dragging Texas Schools into the Culture Wars (2008 report)

Evolution, Creationism & Public Schools: Surveying Texas Scientists (2008 report)

Culture Wars and the Classroom (2010 report)

Senate Bill 6: Changes in the Textbook Adoption Process (2011 report)

Texas Science Curriculum Standards: Challenges (2012 report)

Science Textbook Review (2013 report)

Social Studies Textbook Review (2014 report)

This is the clearest case yet of anti-evolution extremists putting political partisanship ahead of giving Texas kids a sound science education. Now the State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) is pressuring Republicans on the Texas State Board of Education to require that public school students learn phony "weaknesses" of evolution in their science classrooms. The committee passed a resolution on March 7 insisting that Republican board members bow to the Texas GOP platform on the issue. The platform, passed at the GOP state convention in June 2008, includes the following plank:…… Read More

Creationists are taking their efforts to undermine science education to the Texas Capitol. In April of last year, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board rejected an application from the Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research to offer master's degrees in science education in Texas. Members of the coordinating board clearly recognized the ICR's program as simply an attempt to cloak the promotion of biblical creationism in science. A survey by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund also found overwhelming opposition to the application from university science faculty in Texas. ICR officials, charging that they were the victims of "viewpoint discrimination," have said they will seek help from the courts to overturn the coordinating board's decision. Now they are also looking for help in the Texas Legislature. Read More

The Austin American-Statesman has a long profile of Texas State Board of Education chairman Don McLeroy today. The College Station dentist explains his opposition to evolution and his insistence that students learn there are "weaknesses" to this core scientific concept. On the other side of the debate are prominent scientists, such as David Hillis of the University of Texas at Austin and Kenneth Miller of Brown University. Dr. McLeroy and his supporters insist that their desire to challenge evolution in biology classrooms is not about promoting religion in public schools. Yet he makes clear in the Statesman piece that his religious beliefs are the source of his objections to evolution:…… Read More

If you’re a regular visitor to TFN Insider, you know that sound science is under siege in Texas. We have one of the highest teen birthrates in the country, but extremists demand that public schools teach abstinence-only in sexuality education classes. Creationists on the State Board of Education are trying to dumb down the public school science curriculum by attacking evolution. And zealots want to ban embryonic stem cell research that gives hope to families struggling with serious medical conditions like cancer and Parkinston’s disease.

Have you had enough?

You can stand up for science and fight back against the religious right’s extremism by attending the Texas Freedom Network’s Legislative Lobby Day on March 10 in Austin.

Before lobby teams head over to the Capitol, we will provide four break-out sessions on critical issues:

sexuality education stem cell research evolution, the public school science curriuclum, and the State Board of Education youth advocacy and sex ed (a specially designed track for youth advocates under 24 years of age and others interested in mobilizing youth on this issue)

We have many wonderful allies, but TFN remains the only broad-based organization specifically devoted to fighting the religious right in Texas… Read More

Texas State Board of Education member Terri Leo, R-Spring, isn’t happy about an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle charging that board creationists (like Ms. Leo) are promoting a “narrow theological debate about the validity of evolution.” State Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, and state Rep. Patrick Rose, D-Dripping Springs, authored the op-ed, in which they warned that the state board must be held accountable for politicizing the education of Texas schoolchildren.

In a counter opinion piece, Ms. Leo claims that no board member is trying to remove evolution from the public school science curriculum. “There is also no Board member who is seeking to implement religious beliefs into public school science curricula,” she writes.

For the past twenty years, students in Texas have been required “to analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to the strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information.” This standard has been applied to all scientific theories. Pro-Evolution Advocates, however, want evolution to be singled out and taught differently from the other theories. They want evolution to be taught without including the weaknesses of this theory. 

The evolutionists want the time-tested standard to be removed… Read More