Texans to Publishers: Fix Flawed Textbooks

10.20.2014

Proposed social studies textbooks get climate change wrong, distort facts, deny science

CONTACTS:
Robert Luhn, NCSE, 510/601-7203
Dan Quinn, TFN, 512/322-0545
Lisa Hoyos, Climate Parents, 510/282-0440

The results are in! Over 24,000 Texans, together with parents and education supporters from across the country, have raised their voices in opposition to flawed climate change coverage in a suite of proposed social studies textbooks, flaws documented in a report issued by NCSE and TFN four weeks ago. Via petitions launched by TFN, NCSE, and Climate Parents, citizens demanded that the errors about climate science be removed and corrected. The petitions were delivered to members of the Texas State Board of Education by Alexis Watters, a mother of two children, member of Climate Parents and life-long Texan from Austin, TX.

"From the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters, teachers and school boards want textbooks that handle climate change accurately, and they are watching to see which publishers fix these errors" said Josh Rosenau, Programs and Policy Director at NCSE. "These petitions show that parents, teachers, students, and voters across Texas will make sure the board doesn’t let these errors slip into their classrooms."

The petitions were delivered in person today to both the Texas Board of Education and publishing executives at the board meeting in Austin.

Although the petitions were aimed at the most problematic social studies textbook publishers serving Texas, the primary focus was on the two biggest players in the market, Pearson and McGraw-Hill. McGraw-Hill's social studies books quote a climate change denial group infamous for its billboard campaign comparing climate change "believers" to the Unabomber, giving the group’s propaganda equal weight with an assessment of the scientific consensus by the Nobel-winning IPCC. McGraw-Hill has not announced any revisions to correct these errors, nor has Pearson publicly addressed concerns about passages which falsely state that the cause of climate change is unknown or uncertain.

Getting the science right in Texas textbooks will have national repercussions across America, says Ryan Valentine, TFN's Deputy Director. "Students in Texas and around the country will be living with the consequences of climate change for the rest of their lives. They deserve textbooks that tell them the truth about what they are up against." Adds Lisa Hoyos, Director of Climate Parents: "Censoring climate science in order to sell books is unethical and an unacceptable disservice to students, and must be corrected".

The Texas State Board of Education will vote in November on which textbooks to adopt for Texas public schools. Publishers can make changes and corrections to their products right up until the final vote.

The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) is a nonprofit organization that defends the teaching of evolution and climate change. The Texas Freedom Network Education Fund conducts research and citizen education in support of religious freedom, individual liberties and strong public schools. Climate Parents mobilizes parents and families for action on climate change, including the right of all students to be taught accurate climate science at school.