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Textbook fights in Texas again?

"Just when it looked like science education might be safe for a while in Texas public schools, the State Board of Education could soon be dragging the state back into the textbook wars over evolution," the Texas Freedom Network reported on its blog (November 23, 2011). At its most recent meeting, the Texas state board of education considered a proposed schedule on which new science textbooks would be adopted in 2013, in time for classroom use in 2014.

"A full textbook adoption in 2013," TFN explained, "would give creationists another opportunity to pressure publishers into dumbing down instruction on evolution." Even in 2011, when only a limited adoption process for supplementary materials was conducted, there were attempts to introduce materials laced with creationist arguments as well as to undermine the treatment of evolution in scientifically accurate materials, as NCSE previously reported.

Complicating the situation is the fact that owing to redistricting in Texas, all fifteen seats on the state board of education are up for grabs in the November 2012 election. And the impact of state textbook adoption may be muted in any case due to a new state law — analyzed (PDF) in detail by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund — that allows local school districts to buy textbooks not on the state board's approved list.