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Bill Approved by Committee

The Public Education Committee of the Texas House of Representatives recently approved HB 1447, which will now be considered by the House as a whole. This bill would return total control of textbook content to the State Board of Education. Key provisions of this bill include a requirement that textbooks must "…be free from factual errors, including errors of commission or omission related to viewpoint discrimination or special interest advocacy on major issues, as determined by the State Board of Education" and provide that "(n)otwithstanding any other provision of law, the State Board of Education has sole and unlimited authority to determine textbook content under this subchapter and curriculum requirements under Section 28.002. The board may reject any textbook that contains factual or other errors…"

This bill is of potential concern because the language about "factual or other errors" and "viewpoint discrimination" closely follows the rhetoric used by some anti-evolutionists. In addition, opponents of evolution education have long used the Texas State Board of Education textbook adoption process to pressure publishers to delete or minimize evolution content.