Social conservatives on the State Board of Education have again flexed their muscles, and have managed to delay approval of a biology textbook which was slated for use in Texas high schools, because it says ‘evolution’ is responsible for the development of life on earth, 1200 WOAI news reports.
The conservatives and evangelicals have long pushed for so called ‘alternatives to evolution’ to be taught in schools. They questioned the theory of evolution as an explanation for earth’s life, and are calling for ‘alternatives,’ including the Biblical based theory known as ‘intelligent design’ to be taught alongside evolution.
The board did not totally kill the book, but it said a three member committee will be appointed to study the issue.
The books that are chosen by the SBOE are no longer mandatory for Texas public schools under legislation approved in the Legislature in 2011. But most schools adopt SBOE-approved texts, and because of Texas’ large student population, the books which are adopted in Texas are frequently sold to other states as well.
Dan Quinn of the liberal Texas Freedom Network says the SBOE is being increasingly marginalized by it’s emphasis on ideology over facts.
“If the state board continues to have the political bias they have had in the past, school districts will just throw up their hands and say we’re not going to use the books you recommend,” Quinn said. “We’ll just bypass the board.”
Another vote is set for later today, and a final decision is expected before the end of the year. The books would be used through the 2022 school year.