The Texas public school system is one of the country’s largest purchasers of textbooks. In the past, publishers have bowed to the board’s content decisions hoping to to receive a top rating from the panel they can use as an endorsement to sell books in other states. Conversely, rejection by the panel can hurt sales elsewhere, so textbook publishers have frequently opted to “give them what they want” rather than insist on publishing only factual information. And because publishers don’t generally put out more than one version of their books, whatever Texas chooses will end up in classrooms all over America.
That was the victory cry of the Texas Freedom Network November 22, when the Texas School Board stood firm and approved a set of biology textbooks that include a scientific view of evolution and climate change without including a dissenting religious view. The advocacy group posted on their Facebook wall:
“This is a big victory for science. This is a victory for you. Most importantly, this is a huge victory for Texas schoolchildren.”
The Texas Freedom Network (TFN), with the help of spokesman Bill Nye, has been waging an all out campaign called Stand Up For Science, since September, when the school board took up the task of choosing new high school biology textbooks. TFN held rallies outside the school board meetings, delivered 30,000 petitions urging the board to reject religious-based demands, and encouraged the textbook publishers to refuse to make any edits not based on science.
Just as expected, the religious right mobilized to persuade the school board to choose only textbooks that include “biblical principles”. Joining them were members of the powerful oil industry who objected to fracking and carbon emissions being portrayed as harmful to the environment. In the past, such ideologues have been successful in convincing conservative members of the board to refuse books because they have political objections to its factual content.
Not this time.
“Throughout the adoption process, publishers refused to make concessions that would have compromised science instruction on evolution and climate change in their textbooks.”
While TFN may be celebrating a victory, creationists on the board have not given up the battle and are in full tantrum mode. They have managed to stall the purchase of new books by claiming a lesson on natural selection in one of the newly approved biology books teaches that “selection operates as a selective but not a creative force” which they assert is not factual. One Republican school board member accused his anti-evolution colleagues of attempting to “hijack” the process by causing the last-minute delay.
Image Texas Freedom Foundation Facebook
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