Corrected textbooks adopted in Texas

11.21.2014

The Texas state board of education voted to adopt a slate of social studies textbooks for use in the state on November 21, 2014. Among the books approved were several textbooks that, after criticism from NCSE and its allies in the scientific, educational, and civil liberties communities, were revised by their publishers (including Pearson and McGraw-Hill) to eliminate misrepresentations of climate science.

As NCSE previously reported, a number of problematic claims were present in the textbooks submitted for approval, including a statement that fossil fuel emissions have caused a hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica, a claim that scientists "disagree about what is causing climate change," and a quotation from a notorious climate change denial organization presented in rebuttal of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Together with the Texas Freedom Network and Climate Parents, NCSE urged (PDF) the publishers to "correct all factual errors regarding climate change in draft textbooks for K-12 students in Texas." Agreeing were the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Alliance for Climate Education, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Bill Nye, Sojourners, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Additional organizations separately urging (PDF) the state board of education to require the publishers to fix these errors were the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers, the Ecological Society of America, the Geological Society of America, and the National Resources Defense Council. 

Subsequently, both Pearson and McGraw-Hill revised their textbooks. NCSE's Josh Rosenau praised the publishers for their decision, telling the National Journal (November 17, 2014), "They listened to us and the nation’s leading scientific and educational societies, ensuring that students will learn the truth about the greatest challenge they'll confront as citizens of the 21st century."

There were expressions of discontent at the board's November 18, 2014, meeting that "the other side" of the debate over climate change was not presented in the textbooks, as the Texas Freedom Network noted on its blog (November 18, 2014). Nevertheless, the board eventually voted 10-5 on November 21, 2014, to adopt a slate of textbooks including Pearson's and McGraw-Hill's.