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DI again accused of quote-mining

The following appeared in the San Angelo (Texas) Standard-Times on August 13, 2003, and is posted here with the permission of its author.

Texas Textbook Adoption Process Heats Up

On July 9, the Texas Board of Education held its first public hearing allowing the public to comment on biology textbooks proposed for adoption. Local papers reported attendance at over 200. Nearly all of the three dozen speakers defended the teaching of evolution against a report that disputed the accuracy of the treatment of evolution in the 11 biology texts being considered for adoption in Texas, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

Texas Textbook Adoption Process Heats Up

On July 9, the Texas Board of Education held its first public hearing allowing the public to comment on biology textbooks proposed for adoption. Local papers reported attendance at over 200. Nearly all of the three dozen speakers defended the teaching of evolution against a report that disputed the accuracy of the treatment of evolution in the 11 biology texts being considered for adoption in Texas, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

Textbook Bills Fail

The Texas Legislature adjourned on June 2, 2003. Two proposed bills with potential relevance for evolution education, HB 1172 and HB 1447, died at adjournment. Both bills were related to textbook adoption procedures and the state Board of Education. Either could have made it easier for pressure groups opposing evolution to have more influence in Texas, one of the largest textbook markets in the country. See previous items about these bills on this page for more details.

Textbook-Related Legislation Moves Forward

On May 10 the Texas House of Representatives passed HB 1172 and forwarded it to the Senate. This bill would restore the State Board of Education's (SBOE) authority to reject textbooks for any reason, a power which has been restricted in recent years by other legislation. Previously Texas had been the scene of spirited creationist attacks on evolution during its textbook adoption process. Because of the size of its educational system Texas exerts considerable influence over publishers and the national textbook marketplace.

Justice Department Drops Inquiry of Biology Professor

The Justice Department on April 22 announced that it was closing its inquiry into complaints of religious discrimination by Texas Tech student Micah Spradling against biology professor Michael Dini. See the Justice Department’s press release for details.

Another "Controversial Issues" Bill

House Bill 1172 is scheduled to be considered by the Public Education Committee of the Texas House of Representatives on April 22. Although concerned mainly with the presentation of patriotism, the free enterprise system, and historical events, the proposed bill also contains this provision: "... the board and each school district shall ensure that ... each controversial issue addressed in the public school curriculum is presented in a balanced manner that reflects multiple viewpoints regarding the issue..."

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.

The Dini Case

Texas Tech University biology professor Michael Dini is reportedly the target of a Justice Department inquiry for refusing to award letters of recommendations to students who deny human evolution.

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