Remember Cynthia Dunbar? She’s the creationist former member of the Texas State Board of Education who wrote a book in which she called public education “tyrannical,” unconstitutional and a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion.” Dunbar left the board at the end of 2010 and last we heard was teaching law at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. On Monday the folks at Fox & Friends invited Dunbar to talk about last week’s adoption of new science textbooks in Texas — in particular, the adoption of an environmental science textbook criticized by oil and gas industry advocates for its coverage of issues like hydraulic fracturing and climate change. As Media Matters reports, Dunbar bizarrely tied the textbook adoption to the Common Core standards and attacked it as an example of “socialized education”:

“This is what happens when you have socialized education pushing particular viewpoints within the classroom. I know Americans are concerned about socialized health care through Obamacare. I think they need to be equally concerned about socialized education through Obamacore.”

First, why would anyone still seek the opinion of a political extremist who viciously attacks the very public schools she was elected to… Read More

The State Board of Education just voted to adopt all of the high school biology and environmental science textbooks without watering down instruction on evolution and climate change. We just sent out the following press release:

TEXAS TEXTBOOK ADOPTION IS A MAJOR VICTORY FOR SCIENCE EDUCATION

No Compromise on Science Instruction about Evolution or Climate Change in Textbooks, TFN President Says

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 22, 2013

Despite last-minute efforts by some board members and political activists to derail the adoption of two textbooks, the State Board of Education today voted to adopt all of the proposed instructional materials up for adoption for high school biology and environmental science. Throughout the adoption process, publishers refused to make concessions that would have compromised science instruction on evolution and climate change in their textbooks, said Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller.

“It’s hard to overstate the importance of today’s vote, which is a huge win for science education and public school students in Texas,” Miller said. “Four years ago this board passed controversial curriculum standards some members hoped would force textbooks to water down instruction on evolution and climate change. But that strategy has failed because publishers refused to… Read More

When the State Board of Education‘s public hearing on new science textbooks for Texas public schools finally began late Wednesday night, it became clear that creationists were unable to mount a real attack on the biology textbooks. So all looked to be going well — until it became equally clear that oil and gas industry interests had decided to attack the only environmental science textbook up for adoption by the state board.

The last person to testify, Becky Berger, who identified herself a geologist and oil and gas professional, insisted that high schools shouldn’t even teach environmental science classes. She proceeded to attack the environmental science textbook from publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH). Berger claimed that the textbook is filled with factual errors on topics like pollution potentially caused by hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and the problem of carbon emissions (which the vast majority of scientists say is the primary cause of climate change). But she provided no actual written documentation to back up her claims. None. In fact, she didn’t even provide a list of the alleged errors so that the publisher could respond to her claims.

The state’s official review teams had not identified any factual errors in the… Read More

All of us at the Texas Freedom Network are grateful for our friends at the National Center for Science Education. NCSE has been a fantastic partner in our battles at the State Board of Education, including the current debate over proposed new science textbooks for Texas public schools. Josh Rosenau, NCSE’s programs and policy director, has been posting on NCSE’s blog about some of the worst objections of anti-evolution activists serving as official reviewers examining new biology textbooks publishers have submitted for adoption in Texas. We cross-posted one of Josh’s analyses here. Here's another. Read More

The battle over what students learn about evolution in their science classrooms is just one of many challenges facing supporters of sound science. Climate change remains a prominent target of anti-science extremists. Take, for example, right-wing radio blowhard Rush Limbaugh. (Please.) On Monday, his voice dripping with contempt, Limbaugh even questioned the religious faith of people who think human actions that contribute to climate change endanger what they believe is God’s creation. From his Monday radio show:

“If you believe in God, then intellectually, you cannot believe in man-made global warming. You must be either agnostic or atheistic to believe that man controls something he cannot create.”

More on the Media Matters audio clip:

What Texas students learn about climate change will almost certainly be part of the debate over new science textbooks up for adoption by the State Board of Education this year. Remember back in 2009 when Don McLeroy, then still chairman of the state board, dismissed climate change science as “a bunch of hooey”? Climate change deniers still sit on the board.

If you haven’t already, sign the pledge to #StandUp4Science and help the Texas Freedom Network… Read More