It appears that science is prevailing in the latest battle over Texas schoolbooks.
Though earlier this year several of the state’s textbook reviewers called for biology textbooks to discuss creationism, publishers are not complying with those requests, according to the Texas Freedom Network. The nonpartisan watchdog examined material made public by the Texas Education Agency and found that publishers are sticking with teaching evolution.
Citizens who serve on the Texas review panels are charged with making suggestions about proposed classroom texts that are being considered for the state's list of “approved” schoolbooks. While most reviewers on this year’s biology panel made routine, noncontroversial suggestions, some took issue with the fact that the proposed books did not include information about creationism while focusing on evolution.
However, information that publishers submitted to the Texas Education Agency show they are not incorporating the suggestions about "creation science" and plan to print books free of references to the theory of intelligent design.
“This is a very welcome development for everyone who opposes teaching phony science about evolution in our kid’s public schools,” said Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller in a press release. “Texas parents can applaud these publishers for standing up to pressure from politicians and activists who want to put their personal beliefs ahead of giving Texas students a 21st-century science education.”
Josh Rosenau, the programs and policy director at the National Center for Science Education, also declared the publishers' response a victory for science.
“They didn’t put in anything creationist or dangerous, so I’m prepared to call this a victory for the publishers,” he told The Huffington Post. “They stood strong against the pressure of the reviewers.”
HuffPost reached out to several known creationists on the textbook review panel, but they were not immediately available for comment.
In November, the Texas Board of Education will decide which books it will recommend for schools to use. It's not clear how the failure to include creationism will impact the recommended list. However, even if specific textbooks are not recommended, school districts will still have the option of using them.
According to the Texas Education Agency, the new textbooks will reach classrooms in the 2014–15 school year.