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A final victory in Texas

When the Texas state board of education voted on July 22, 2011, to approve scientifically accurate supplementary material from established mainstream publishers, there was a loose end hanging. A creationist member of the review panel released a list of supposed errors in the submitted Holt McDougal material involving evolution. While the board approved the material, it directed Commissioner of Education Robert Scott to review the list of supposed errors and to develop amended language for the publisher to incorporate.

Now a memorandum from the Texas Education Agency to the board dated August 11, 2011, indicates (PDF) that Commissioner Scott determined that Holt McDougal "has sufficiently addressed all eight of the reported errors." Particularly noteworthy was Holt McDougal's response to the complaint (about a lab activity comparing hominid skulls) that "it is erroneous to pretend that common ancestry is the cause" of the similarity of human skulls with those of other hominids: "This lab activity was not changed."

In a post at its blog dated August 15, 2011, the Texas Freedom Network observed, "Here's the head-exploding part for the creationists. Not only does the final version of Holt not include creationist arguments against evolution, but they also include language explicitly affirming Darwin's theories," adding, "With Holt's materials finalized, we can now say with certainty that all of the materials approved from the nine publishers are in line with fact-based science and free of creationist attacks seeking to undermine science."

Video from the board's July 21, 2011, meeting, during which the supplementary material was discussed, is now available at NCSE's YouTube channel. Among those testifying on behalf of good science education in the Lone Star State are the Reverend Kelly Allen, Steve Bratteng, the Reverend Albert Clayton, Andrew Ellington, Vera Preston-Jaeger, Rebecca Robertson of the Texas ACLU, NCSE's Joshua Rosenau, Lorenzo Sadun, Steven Schafersman of Texas Citizens for Science, Jennifer Steele, and Bernardino Villasenor.