This is what I told the Texas board of education just minutes ago. As a reminder, NCSE's ability to represent your voice in hearings depends on your donations.
Madame Chair, members of the board,
My name is Josh Rosenau. On my own behalf and that of the National Center for Science Education and our thousands of members, thank you for the chance to speak about these great new textbooks. These books present the science that tomorrow’s Texans need in order to be scientists, engineers, doctors, entrepreneurs, farmers, oilmen, and citizens. They’ll give students a solid foundation for life in the 21st century, a century already dominated by advances in biology and our response to climate change.
I’m concerned, though, by some of the revisions suggested by review panels this summer. Many betray a desire to insert personal politics and sectarian divisions into textbooks. That agenda is seen in an exclusive focus on politically-charged, but scientifically-uncontroversial, topics like evolution and climate change. Where unbiased reviewers checked for clear lab safety guidelines, thoughtful histories of all sciences, and even correctly-formatted species names, review panels captured by ideologues were troublingly selective.
These reviews would even have publishers introduce factual errors or reduce coverage of the TEKS, building flaws and voids into the foundation of students’ knowledge. For instance, one reviewer claimed that covering genetic drift and recombination as evolutionary mechanisms was false and violated TEKS 3A. Not only have those evolutionary mechanisms been recognized for decades, but TEKS 7F correctly requires coverage of them. These agenda-driven reviewers often relied on materials from creationist organizations to attack accurate science in the textbooks. Introducing such errors and ideology into these books would build cracks, voids, and flaws directly into the foundation of Texas students’ science education.
To ensure that “Texas edition” is a mark of quality, not a warning label, I ask that you assure publishers they won’t have to make revisions to satisfy these flawed reviews.