THE LATEST FROM TEXAS
The pressure on the Texas board of education to require the correction of errors in the coverage of climate change in social studies textbooks presently under consideration continues. In a press conference on November 12, 2014, NCSE, the Texas Freedom Network, and Climate Parents charged that textbooks published by McGraw-Hill and Pearson are still problematic, as the Austin Chronicle (November 12, 2014) reports.
Observing that science textbooks manage to represent the scientific consensus correctly, NCSE’s Josh Rosenau described the social studies textbooks as “irresponsible,” adding that it’s “hard to understand how the social studies books went so far [a]field.” Lisa Hoyos of Climate Parents agreed, saying, “Parents are alarmed and angry that [publishers] would knowingly expose kids to false information in their social studies textbooks.”
Released at the same press conference was a letter addressed to McGraw-Hill and Pearson urging the publishers to “correct all factual errors regarding climate change in draft textbooks for K-12 students in Texas.” Signing the letter, besides NCSE, TFN, and Climate Parents, were the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Alliance for Climate Education, Bill Nye, Sojourners, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Previously, a number of scientific societies and environmental organizations urged the state board of education to require the publishers to fix these errors: the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers, the Ecological Society, and the National Resources Defense Council.
The state board of education is scheduled to hold a final public hearing on the textbooks on November 18, with a vote on the textbooks expected to follow on November 21. The TFN’s president Kathy Miller told the Austin Chronicle, “Parents must insist that students get textbooks based on the recommendations of scholars and experts rather than on the demands of politicians who pressure publishers into distorting research and facts.”
For the story in the Austin Chronicle, visit:
For the letter to the publishers (PDF), visit:
For the letters to the Texas state board of education (PDF), visit:
And for NCSE’s previous coverage of events in Texas, visit:
UPDATE FROM SCOTLAND
The Public Petitions Committee of the Scottish Parliament heard testimony supporting the proposed ban on teaching creationism as scientifically credible in Scotland’s public schools on November 11, 2014,according to the Press Association (November 11, 2014). The committee agreed to write to the Scottish government, the Educational Institute of Scotland, the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association and the Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland to receive their views on the matter.
As NCSE previously reported, the petition, filed by the Scottish Secular Society, asks the parliament “to bar the presentation in Scottish publicly funded schools of separate creation and of Young Earth doctrines as viable alternatives to the established science of evolution, common descent, and deep time,” adding, “Nothing in this request precludes the discussion of such doctrines in their proper place, as part of the study of ideas, neither does it nor can it infringe on individual freedom of belief.”
Among the organizations submitting written testimony was NCSE, which in a November 7, 2014, letter expressed its support for the proposed ban, citing the statements from scientific and educational organizations contained in Voices for Evolution as well as case law from legal cases in the United States. The letter also argued, “Simply devolving the question of how to address evolution and creationism to individual teachers is not satisfactory,” in light of reports of creationist encroachments on science education in Scotland.
For the Press Association story (via The Courier), visit:
For the petition (PDF) and related documents, visit:
For NCSE’s letter (PDF), visit:
For Voices for Evolution, visit:
And for NCSE’s previous coverage of events outside the United States, visit:
“TEXAS TEXTBOOKS NEED TO GET THE FACTS STRAIGHT”
Writing in the Austin American-Statesman (November 6, 2014), Camille Parmesan and Alan I. Leshner called on the Texas state board of education to insist on the correction of scientifically inaccurate material about climate change in social studies textbooks currently under consideration for state adoption. “Texas educators should reject the new textbooks unless they are edited to address the serious concerns outlined by the National Center for Science Education,” they argued.
Along with the Texas Freedom Network, NCSE previously charged that “an
examination of how proposed social studies textbooks for Texas public schools address climate change reveals distortions and bias that misrepresent the broad scientific consensus on the phenomenon.” A number of errors about climate science were present, as well as a quotation from a notorious climate change denial organization presented in rebuttal of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“Children cannot compete in the global marketplace of the future unless they achieve science literacy,” Parmesan and Leshner concluded. “Students deserve to know the true scientific facts about human-caused climate change.” Parmesan is a professor of integrative biology at the University of Texas, Austin, and a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Leshner is the chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The Texas state board of education is expected to hold a final vote on the social studies textbooks on November 21, 2014. As NCSE previously reported, petitions calling for correction of the errors on climate science in the textbooks signed by over 24,000 Texans were delivered to the board and the publishers on October 20, 2014. It isn’t too late for concerned Texans to add their voices in support of the integrity of science education by signing the petition cosponsored by NCSE and the Texas Freedom Network.
For Parmesan and Leshner’s column in the Austin American-Statesman, visit:
For NCSE and TFN’s press release about the errors in the textbooks, visit:
For the petition, visit:
And for NCSE’s previous coverage of events in Texas, visit:
CONGRATULATIONS TO JAY LABOV
NCSE is delighted to congratulate Jay Labov on being named as a Honorary Member of the National Association of Biology Teachers.
“Jay has truly been a leader, advocate and major driving force behind numerous initiatives to improve biology education both nationally and internationally,” Jane Ellis, president-elect of NABT and chair of the honorary membership committee said in a press release. “We are so pleased to recognize his contributions.”
Honorary Membership is the highest award conferred by the NABT, and is given to those members who have “achieved distinction in teaching, research, or service in the biological sciences.” NCSE’s founder Stanley Weinberg received the honor in 1985 and NCSE’s founding executive director Eugenie C. Scott received the honor in 2005.
Labov is Senior Advisor for Education and Communication for the National Research Council and the National Academy of Sciences. He received NCSE’s Friend of Darwin award in 2013.
For the press release, visit: