We’ve been keeping tabs on this story of a review of science textbooks in Texas for a few months now. It does appear that the death grip Texas used to have is now really weak.
Textbook publishers have largely ignored the suggestions made by reviewers appointed by the Texas State School Board. Various members of the board have been attempting to undercut the teaching of evolution when formulating new science standards. After a tough fight that resulted in some confusing requirements, textbook makers were given the chance to implement the new standards. Naturally, when it came time to review the texts, the school board appointed a handful of creationists to the review group.
Just as naturally, those individuals requested that “‘creation science’ based on biblical principles should be incorporated into every biology book that is considered for adoption” and complained about how evolution was presented. The textbooks were supposed to be revised to reflect these complaints. Now, the publishers have submitted the texts they were supposed to have revised in light of these complaints. And, the good news is that the texts seem fine.
The Texas Freedom Network, which follows (among other things) science education in the state, has had a chance to look over the proposed revisions, and it hasn’t found anything objectionable at first glance. Obviously, since teaching creation science is unconstitutional, it didn’t make the revised versions.
So creationist ideas are pooh-poohed by people who actually publish science books. And even better, the people themselves have stood behind science. The message is getting through. Minor changes were made for appeasement: The phrase “evolutionary theory offers the most logical explanation” has been changed to the more diplomatic “scientists who analyze and evaluate these data make the professional judgment that evolutionary theory offers the most logical explanation.” It’s the exact same sentiment, just with a bunch more words to the get the point across.
This is a nice breath of fresh air to whoosh away all those stuffy discredited ideas. There is no time and no value to teaching discarded old lessons in science class. Kids need to know how life really works on earth. Not a religious-based fairy tale.