|Photo from Truthout.org|
It seemed like it would never happen, but it looks like the Texas Textbook Battle: Social Studies Edition is finally wrapping up.
The State Board of Education is holding a public meeting today at 1 p.m. in Austin to allow people to submit their comments on the controversial textbooks before the board has its first unofficial vote on whether to approve the books. The initial versions of the textbooks -- written based on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, aka the wackobird guidelines created by the SBOE in 2010 that embraced creationist views and a whole lot of relying on the Bible -- were offered up back in September, but had some problems with little things like "truth" and "fact" and stuff like that, according to both education and science groups.
For those who have already forgotten, or blocked it all out, these are the textbooks that initially claimed that Moses basically invented democracy, textbooks that used the word "negro" in a contemporary setting, and explained the "gay liberation movement" as an upshot of social upheaval. The textbooks also claimed that all international terrorism is due Islamic fundamentalists jihading it up, and minimized the role that slavery played in the Civil War. The books also claimed that climate change science was something still being debated by the scientific community, that it was unclear if humans have any impact on the climate at all, in addition to a whole bunch of other stuff that is not, strictly speaking, real.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this whole thing sparked outrage in education groups in general and in science groups in particular. Since Texas has one of the largest public school systems in the country, textbook publishers tend to write their books to fit the stringent and sometimes, you know, nutty standards of the Lone Star State, as dictated by the SBOE. Subsequently, these books end up being the standard for the rest of the country. (See where we're going with this?)More »