Texas State Board of Education Rejects Majority of Eighth-Grade Science Textbooks on Climate Change

Texas State Board of Education Rejects Majority of Eighth-Grade Science Textbooks on Climate Change

This rejection stems from including climate change content

In a significant and controversial decision, the Texas State Board of Education voted to reject seven out of twelve proposed science textbooks for eighth graders. This rejection stems from including climate change content, raising concerns about the state’s commitment to comprehensive climate education.

The 15-member board rejected the majority of textbooks either because they contained policy solutions for climate change or were produced by companies adhering to an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) policy. Some were also dismissed based on lower scores from the board’s reviewers regarding adherence to the state’s curriculum standards.

While some textbooks were rejected, the board approved five books for eighth-grade science. These textbooks are from Savvas Learning Company, McGraw-Hill School Division, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Depository, Accelerate Learning, and Summit K-12.

The rejection of several textbooks, including those with Spanish texts, has sparked disappointment among board members. San Antonio Democratic member Marisa Perez-Diaz expressed concern about the potential consequences of such decisions, fearing that Texas might become less attractive to publishers, hindering the availability of proper materials for students.

Curriculum Changes and Climate Education

The decision comes amid a broader curriculum overhaul approved two years ago, impacting eighth-grade science textbooks. For the first time, these changes require Texas eighth graders to learn about climate change. The rejection of books underscores the political complexities surrounding teaching climate-related subjects.

Texas is one of only six states that do not follow the Next Generation Science Standards, which emphasize the reality and severity of climate change. Instead, the state relies on its standards, the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), which mandate teaching about climate change and how human activities “can” influence the climate.

The rejection of textbooks aligns with recent political trends, including a shift towards right-leaning ideologies in the State Board of Education. Some board members expressed concerns about books containing environmentally-friendly corporate policies and called for more emphasis on religious perspectives.

Public response to the decision has been mixed, with advocates of comprehensive climate education expressing disappointment. The rejection of textbooks with clear scientific consensus on climate change raises questions about the state’s commitment to providing students with accurate and up-to-date information.

While the rejected textbooks won’t be mandatory for school districts, many adopt them as they comply with the state’s curriculum standards. The decision’s broader implications may impact Texas students’ exposure to crucial information about climate change and environmental stewardship.

The Texas State Board of Education’s decision reflects the ongoing challenges surrounding climate education in certain regions. The rejection of textbooks raises concerns about the state’s commitment to preparing students for a future shaped by climate-related challenges. The controversy underscores the broader national debate on the role of politics in shaping educational curricula and ensuring students receive a well-rounded, evidence-based education.

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