The Texas State Board of Education has nominated several well-known creationists to review high school biology textbooks. Our friends at the amazing and indefatigable Texas Freedom Network have written with alarmabout this developing situation. The state board, after hearing from their reviewers, will vote this November to adopt certain science textbooks for Texas’ vast market. Such texts must meet the problematic standards the SBOE adopted in the contentious 2009 hearings, and “could be in the state’s public school science classrooms for nearly a decade.” (That high school science texts are so woefully out of date is a problem I’ll address in a later post.)
Among the six creationist reviewers are some of the nation’s leading opponents of teaching students that evolution is established, mainstream science and is overwhelmingly supported by well over a century of research …
… That relatively small overall number of reviewers could give creationists even stronger influence over textbook content. In fact, publishers are making changes to their textbooks based on objections they hear from the review panelists. And that’s happening essentially behind closed doors because the public isn’t able to monitor discussions among the review panelists themselves or between panelists and publishers.
Efforts to illuminate these unforthcoming proceedings have not yielded results; TFN reports that “no documents or correspondence have yet been turned over to TFN in response to our open records requests.”
We do not yet know how much textbook conflict will occur this fall. But given the long history of contentious textbook adoptions in Texas (just google “Gablers”), there is the potential for a spectacle. Much depends on how literally board members interpret the 2009 science standards.
Written By: Steven Newtoncontinue to source article at ncse.com