Evolution in Texas Schools: Board Hits Snag When Approving Textbooks

Monday, 25 Nov 2013 06:49 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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The Texas Board of Education battled its long-standing nemesis — creationism vs. evolution — last week, finally approving all but one science book for use in classes statewide.

The one biology textbook that failed to win approval, published by Pearson Education, a large national firm, was criticized for 20 issues, many of which concerned evolution, The Associated Press said. As the debate wound up toward midnight, the board finally decided to have experts examine the book.

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The nation’s educators often watch what Texas does because its large size means publishers will often market books approved in Texas around the country, AP said.

The issues in the biology book center around things like how long it took the earth to cool and about natural selection, the AP said. Some on the board weren’t happy the book’s approval was delayed.

“I believe this process is being hijacked, this book is being held hostage to make political changes," Thomas Ratliff, vice chairman of the Board of Education, told the AP, pointing out that he thought the book was already in use in half of U.S. classrooms.

"To ask me — a business degree major from Texas Tech University — to distinguish whether the Earth cooled 4 billion years ago or 4.2 billion years ago for purposes of approving a textbook at 10:15 on a Thursday night is laughable," Ratliff told the AP.

Like any debate with religious implications, what Texas is doing raises tempers. The Huffington Post asked the Science Guy, Bill Nye, what he thought.

“Everyone should take a moment and think what it will mean to raise a generation of students who might believe that it is reasonable to think for a moment that the Earth might be 10,000 years old," Nye emailed the Post. “It's an outrageous notion. It's not a benign idea. It's inane or silly. These students will not accept the process of science, which will stifle or suppress innovation.”

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