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Applause for the Texas victory

In the wake of the Texas state board of education's July 22, 2011, vote to approve scientifically accurate supplementary materials and to reject creationist-inflected materials, newspapers around the state are rejoicing.

The Austin American-Statesman (July 25, 2011) was relieved by the absence of "the Bible-thumping rhetoric that has become a board trademark." "We might miss the fireworks," the editorial concluded, "but we'll gladly trade the show for balanced policymaking that will enable Texas students to compete in an increasingly complicated and increasingly global economy."

The Beaumont Enterprise (July 25, 2011) wrote, "Once again, public school students and taxpayers in Texas dodged a bullet," adding, "The recurring battles over evolution ... are something Texans can avoid. The State Board of Education should remember the final word in its title and promote classroom standards that give our children the best chance to compete and win in the 21st century."

The Corpus Christi Caller-Times (July 26, 2011), urged Texans to remember July 22, 2011, as "the day the State Board of Education decided not to impede the teaching of a theory that predates the Civil War. Thus, on that day, science education leapt forward and a slight but tectonic shift in the board may have occurred. We're talking, of course, about evolution and the endless attempts by its religiously motivated disbelievers to monkey with it."

And the San Antonio Express-News (July 27, 2011), headlining its editorial "This time, SBOE gets science right," expressed its pleasure that "the board largely stuck to scientific matters in its adoption of supplemental science instructional materials," while deploring the board's decision in 2009 to sabotage the state science standards in such a way as to "ensure that students in Texas public schools will receive an inferior science education."

What's next in Texas? The fight over evolution may resume when the adoption process for textbooks resumes in a few years — but Senate Bill 6, recently signed into law by Governor Rick Perry, largely erodes the state board of education's authority over textbooks.

Revised on July 27, 2011, to add the fifth paragraph.