Group: Publishers pressured to include 'creation science' in tex - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Group: Publishers pressured to include 'creation science' in textbooks

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Some high school biology books are coming under fire, mainly because of two topics, climate change and evolution.

Fossils and Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, these are two staples of science curriculum, but not everyone agrees they should be included in high school textbooks.

Kathy Miller said, "Reviewers are pressuring publishers to minimize the coverage of evolution and climate change in the textbooks and even include unconstitutional or scientifically discredited arguments in those textbooks."

Kathy Miller is the President of the Texas Freedom Network, an advocacy organization.

One of their focuses is to promote quality public education.

Miller said, "One of the official reviewers actually asked one of the country's major publishers to include creation science based on biblical principles in every biology textbook in the state."

Those with the Freedom Network are speaking out, hoping to discourage publishers from listening to some of the changes suggested by some reviewers.

"These reviewers are pressuring publishers to make non-scientific changes, and in order to sell books, sometimes publishers might actually capitulate to those requests," said Miller.

Jonathan Saenz said, "I think 500 different products were submitted to the State Board of Education, the notion that one of those publishers, that has a lot of money on the line, is going to put themselves at risk in violating federal law and a Supreme Court decision, for one comment someone made, that's never going to happen."

Jonathan Saenz is the President of Texas Values, an advocacy organization promoting faith, family and freedom.

"We see a pattern of people that volunteer for these positions, that in their personal life, have a religious background, that is their belief in Christianity. So, I hope that we're not creating a standard where there's a religious test before you can serve in this capacity in the State Board of Education," Saenz said.

Miller said, "The State Board of Education has not defined any minimum qualifications to serve as an official reviewer of textbooks. Another reviewer actually suggested that debunked arguments against climate change be included. Those arguments have been discredited by organizations like NASA."

Saenz said, "In 2011, over 16 binders of factual errors were discovered and thankfully, those reviewers were able to help in finding those errors so they didn't enter the classroom...that's where their main focus is and should continue to be."

The State Board of Education determines curriculum standards and textbooks used in every subject, in every grade in public schools.

The State Board of Education will consider the Biology book reviews in November, when it adopts new textbooks for Science and Math.

A public hearing is set for Tuesday, the 17th. If you'd like to voice your opinion on that day, you need to sign up in advance.

LINKS:

http://www.tfn.org/site/PageServer?pagename=TFN_homepage

http://txvalues.org/

http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index3.aspx?id=1156

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