Publishers hold the line in Texas

"Materials submitted to the Texas Education Agency and examined by the Texas Freedom Network and university scientists show that publishers are resisting pressure to undermine instruction on evolution in their proposed new high school biology textbooks for public schools," according to a press release issued by the Texas Freedom Network on October 16, 2013. "This is a very welcome development for everyone who opposes teaching phony science about evolution in our kid’s public schools," Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller commented.

Publishers submitted their proposed science textbooks for adoption in Texas in April 2013, and review panels, composed of Texans chosen by the state board of education, were responsible for evaluating them. But, as NCSE previously reported, ideologues on the panels attacked the treatment of evolution and climate change in the textbooks. "The arguments in these reviews are the same discredited claims anti-science activists have pushed for years," commented NCSE's Joshua Rosenau in a joint press release issued by TFN and NCSE.

Publishers were asked to submit their proposed changes in response to the panels' comments by October 4, and the Texas Education Agency made the proposed changes available to the public on October 11. After examining the proposed changes, TFN reports, "Editorial changes from all 14 publishers that submitted high school textbooks for adoption this year do not reflect" the arguments and beliefs of the review panelists who objected to the textbooks' treatment of evolution.

Arturo De Lozanne, a professor of molecular, cell, and developmental biology at the University of Texas at Austin, was quoted in TFN's press release as saying, "From what I can see so far, publishers are resisting pressure to do things that would leave high school graduates in Texas ill-prepared to succeed in a college science classroom." De Lozanne added, "If we want Texas kids to be competitive nationally, we have to ensure that what they learn in their high school classrooms is based on facts, not ideology."

NCSE's Joshua Rosenau, who traveled to Austin to testify before the board in defense of the textbooks and subsequently helped to review the proposed changes from the publishers, agreed, saying, "I'm glad to see that publishers didn't succumb to pressure from unqualified ideologues, standing firm to ensure that students in Texas — and every other state — have access to accurate, thorough, honest textbooks." The board is expected to make a final decision on the textbooks at its November 2013 meeting.