With midnight looming, some of the state education board members singled out a textbook by Pearson Education, one of America's largest publishers, on Thursday. Many of the 20 concerns pertained to the theory of evolution. After a lengthy debate that got testy at times, the board voted to have three of its members pick a trio of outside experts to further scrutinize the book.

If the issues can be resolved, it will win approval. But if not, it will be returned to the board for consideration at its January meeting.

Textbook and classroom curriculum battles have long raged in Texas pitting creationists - those who see God's hand in the creation of the universe - against academics who worry about religious and political ideology trumping scientific fact. At issue this time are proposed high school textbooks that could be used statewide starting next school year and through 2022 at least.