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Fact-Haters May Dumb Down Texas Textbooks Again

by: Ben Sherman

Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 11:00 AM CDT

Three years later, fundamentalists in charge of Texas textbooks are again working to make sure our students come out of school as ignorant as possible. A report from the Texas Freedom Network and the National Center for Science Education reveals that official state textbook reviewers appointed by the State Board of Education are trying to take the facts out of science education.

They're trying to get "creation science" and climate change denialism injected into textbooks, less students get an adequate education.

This is literal insanity - a wholesale rejection of established fact - but our state educators aren't really interested in facts. Texas students shouldn't be subjected to the fundamentalist religious beliefs of these state education officials, but they are.

"Once again culture warriors on the state board are putting Texas at risk of becoming a national laughingstock on science education," TFN President Kathy Miller said. "What our kids learn in their public schools should be based on mainstream, established science, not the personal views of ideologues, especially those who are grossly unqualified to evaluate a biology textbook in the first place. What we see in these documents makes it imperative that the board finally establish genuine qualifications for those entrusted with reviewing textbooks or curriculum standards for our kids."

Read the state reviewers' exact proposals below the jump.

Here's what the reviewers are pushing, via the NCSE:

-called for the inclusion of "'creation science' based on Biblical principles"
-asserted that "no transitional fossils have been discovered"
-insisted that there is no evidence for a human influence on the carbon cycle
-claimed that there is no evidence about the effect of climate change on species diversity
-promoted a book touting "intelligent design" creationism as a reliable source of scientific information
-denied that recombination and genetic drift are evolutionary mechanisms
-mischaracterized experiments on the peppered moth as "discredited" and as "fabrication[s]"

Everything they're pushing for has been discredited time and time again. In 2010, Texas sparked national outrage when the deeply regressive State Board of Education tilted the state's history, sociology and economic books toward a conservative vision of the world. Texas students are now subjected to this partisan tilt toward Republican successes, deregulation, and a downplaying of civil rights leaders' role in American history. Independent education institutions across the country criticized the changes as the distortions they are.

But clearly that wasn't enough for the extremists in charge of educating Texas kids. They now want a thorough endorsement of creation science in textbooks, and a denial of the overwhelming scientific reality of human-caused climate change.

"The arguments in these reviews are the same discredited claims anti-science activists have pushed for years," said Josh Rosenau, Programs and Policy Director at NCSE. "This is scary because of Texas' big influence on publishers and on textbooks used across the country. Publishers should listen to real experts, not unqualified reviewers who don't seem to understand even basic scientific terms."

Just to quickly take down a few of their ploys - there are in fact dozens of transitional fossils that prove Darwin's theory, almost every scientist on earth agrees that humans have influenced the carbon cycle, and "intelligent design" is merely the baseless brainchild of the Discovery Institute, a Christian organization.

A public hearing on the newly edited books will take place next week in Austin. A final vote to approve or reject them is scheduled for November.

Texas students deserve the facts so they can use what they learn in school to get ahead in life and contribute to society. Denying them that education is destructive and un-American.

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Do not republish without express written permission.

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