Textbook Reformers See Last-Minute Victory in Texas Decision

Staff
Discovery Institute
November 7, 2003

Board adopts textbooks after education agency head pledges to address remaining factual errors

SEATTLE – The Texas State Board of Education voted today to adopt proposed biology textbooks for use in state schools after being promised by the Commissioner of the Texas Education Agency that all remaining factual errors in the textbooks will have to be addressed by publishers before the textbooks can be placed in the hands of students.

The Commissioner initially made the pledge at Thursday's board meeting, and then reiterated it strongly before the final vote on Friday. A number of Board members at Friday's meeting indicated that remaining factual errors will now have to be fixed. Board member Don McLeroy praised the Commissioner's pledge, noting that such remaining errors as the claim that human embryos have "gill slits" will need to be addressed by publishers before their books can be distributed to students.

"This is real progress in the cause of science education reform," said Bruce Chapman, Discovery Institute President. "We were already happy that a number of embarrassing errors that overstate the evidence for evolutionary theory were being fixed — for example, two textbook publishers have proposed removing Haeckel's faked embryo diagrams from the 1800s."

"Texas has pledged to make sure that publishers address all remaining errors in the textbooks over the next several months," added Chapman. "So we now hope that fake facts like human embryos with 'gill slits,' the flat earth myth, and overstatements about peppered moth research will be things of the past as well."

Discovery Institute has previously published a list of top remaining factual errors in the biology books on its website at http://www.discovery.org/csc/texas/.

"We were also hoping that the Board would require textbooks to include coverage of the peer-reviewed scientific weaknesses of evolutionary theory," continued Chapman. "Unfortunately, there wasn't a majority on the Board that was willing to enforce that. However, finally fixing these errors is an important first step to improving the accuracy of science education about evolutionary theory."

Institute officials said they will continue to publicize the errors in textbooks, the weaknesses of evidence alleged to prove Darwinian evolution theory, and educate the public on the dangers of not fully and completely teaching Darwin's theory.