It’s not often I get to say that, but the Texas Board of Education just approved “scientifically accurate high school biology textbook supplements from established mainstream publishers” by a unanimous vote:
On Friday, the 15-member elected board voted 14-0 (with one absent) to approve the list of electronic supplements, with two biology textbook publishers agreeing to edit their material in select places to meet the board’s approval.
Amazing that we have to applaud a group of educators for simply choosing scientifically accurate material, but that’s what it’s come to in Texas. You take what you can get. So what does it mean when the publishers agree to “edit their material”?
Holt McDougal agreed, after some resistance, to offer changes in the language it employed in eight instances dealing with evolution concepts. The board agreed to adopt the text after passing a motion asking [Robert] Scott, the education commissioner, to coordinate the changes with the publisher.
Seems fishy… but if they came this far, here’s hoping they finish the job properly and present the overwhelming amount of evidence supporting evolution in the best possible way.
This whole affair also shows the importance of voting for board members who have the students’ best interests in mind instead of their churches’.
The 15-member board is dominated by Republicans but the ultra-conservative wing lost a key vote in 2010 when former chairman Don McLeroy was defeated by Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant.
Ratliff said he would have voted to support the findings of the scientists and throw out the changes recommended by the board reviewer.
“There’s no question had some seats not changed, it would have been different,” Ratliff said.
It also helped that the pro-science forces came out in full support of the supplements:
One conservative group had put a call out to pack Thursday’s public hearing with witnesses urging the board to adopt materials that question evolution. But they were outnumbered by witnesses supporting evolution.
So for now, we can claim victory… while keeping one eye open to make sure the board follows through with their pro-science vote.
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