We just sent out the following press release.

Science and education advocates are calling on leading national publishers to revise proposed new social studies textbooks that include inaccurate and misleading information on climate science and promote climate change denialism. The Texas State Board of Education this month is considering the new textbooks, which could subsequently end up in schools across the country.

At a press conference today, advocates released letters to publishers from major national science associations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Geophysical Union and (jointly) the American Meteorological Society and American Association for Physics Teachers, calling for corrections to misleading information on climate change in the proposed new textbooks.

A review in September by the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) revealed a number of problems with textbook passages dealing with climate change. One passage in a McGraw-Hill world geography and cultures textbook even equates arguments from a polluter-funded political lobby group, the Heartland Institute, with a Nobel-winning organization of international scientists, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). An elementary school textbook from Pearson Education downplays the overwhelming consensus among climate scientists about what is causing climate change. The NCSE review is available at 

As we reported on Monday, a National Center for Science Education review finds that a number of proposed social studies textbooks for Texas public schools promote climate science denialism. One geography textbook, from publisher McGraw-Hill, even includes a passage written by political hacks at the polluter-funded Heartland Institute — the right-wing organization that a few years ago launched an infamous billboard campaign that featured “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski supposedly claiming: “I still believe in global warming. Do you?”

The McGraw-Hill textbook passage, written by Heartland’s Joseph Bast and James M. Taylor, also attacks the overwhelming scientific evidence showing that climate change is a real and growing threat. The textbook irresponsibly uses that factually inaccurate passage as a counterpoint to a paragraph from the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

So who are Bast and Taylor?

Taylor is a senior fellow for Heartland and serves as managing editor of the organization’s Environment and Climate News publication.  He is also a spokesperson on a variety of media outlets and at events held by political groups like the similarly right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council. And he writes a regular column on “energy and environmental issues” for Forbes magazine.

But Taylor isn’t a scientist. He’s a lawyer. His Heartland bio says… Read More

When it comes to Texas textbook adoptions, attacks on science seem to be almost an annual affair now. So with the State Board of Education considering new social studies textbooks for Texas public schools this fall, we asked the National Center for Science Education to check what those texts say about climate change. The news is troubling. One textbook goes so far as to equate arguments from a polluter-funded political advocacy group with real facts from an international science organization that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Check out (below) our joint press release with NCSE.

Then click here to sign our petition and send a message to textbook publishers: take climate change denialism out of textbooks. Here’s the press release we just sent out:

An examination of how proposed social studies textbooks for Texas public schools address climate change reveals distortions and bias that misrepresent the broad scientific consensus on the phenomenon.

Climate education specialists at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) examined the proposed textbooks, which publishers submitted for consideration by the State Board of Education (SBOE) in April. NCSE identified a number of errors as well as an exercise that absurdly equates a political… Read More

It’s always good to see folks in responsible positions refuse to play games with far-right fanatics who substitute ignorant, facts-free ideology for honest research and expertise. So we enjoyed reading a particular section of state District Judge John Dietz’s opinion on Thursday that the public school finance system in Texas violates the state Constitution.

The case is almost certainly headed to the Texas Supreme Court down the road. And Judge Dietz’s opinion is long — nearly 400 pages. But check out pages 335-336 of that opinion.

In his lengthy list of “Findings of Fact,” Judge Dietz rips into wild and unsubstantiated claims that the head of the right-wing, corporate-funded Heartland Institute, Joseph Bast, made when he testified in the case last year. The Heartland Institute argues, among other things, that the overwhelming scientific evidence on the growing threat of global climate change is wrong. It also supports voucher schemes that take funding from neighborhood public schools to subsidize tuition at private and religious schools instead.

In his January 2013 testimony in the school finance base, Bast claimed that the Texas Taxpayers’ Savings Grant Program, a voucher scheme that failed to pass the Texas Legislature in 2011, would save the state about $2 billion over the first two years. As Dietz… Read More

Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) have been fantastic partners with the Texas Freedom Network in defending teaching about evolution and climate change in Texas public schools. Now NCSE is offering an online workshop on December 18 to train people around the country how to lobby their elected officials in support of science education. From the workshop’s registration page:

Bills attacking evolution education and climate change education were filed in almost a dozen state legislatures last year, and a new legislative season starting in January will bring many more.

Stopping bad legislation and encouraging policymakers to support strong science education requires the active involvement of local citizens. When lawmakers hear from their own constituents—the voters who put them in office, the neighbors and colleagues whose good opinion they value—bad bills can be stopped and science education can be made stronger. When local citizens are silent, or can be shouted down by a vocal opposition, dangerous laws are enacted.

NCSE’s one-hour online training session — which will feature a panel of state lobbying experts — will help you learn the nuts and bolts of effective lobbying on behalf of science education.

The training is from… Read More