Texas Overhauls Textbook Approval To Ease Tensions Over Evolution | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Texas Overhauls Textbook Approval To Ease Tensions Over Evolution

The Texas Board of Education, which has long been an ideological battleground for the teaching of evolution, says it will limit the use of citizen review panels and instead give priority to teachers in determining science and history curricula.

Because Texas public schools represent such a large market for textbook publishers, the state has an outsized influence on what is taught in the rest of the country.

Science curricula in particular have become a source of tension over the past 30 years amid moves to downplay the teaching of evolution or to include biblically inspired creationism or "intelligent design."

Critics have been concerned that a small number of religious or political activists can dominate the process of approving texts, and the Board of Education's move appears to try to tamp that down.

Conflicts have also seeped into the approval of history textbooks in recent years, where some have sought to change the characterization of religion's role in the development of the early republic.

Among the changes approved by the state on Friday was "a mandate for teachers and professors to be given priority for serving on textbook review panels for subjects in their areas of expertise. They also enable the board to appoint outside experts to check objections that review panels raise," The Associated Press says.

Meanwhile, South Dakota became the fourth state so far this year to take up legislation that would allow public schools to teach intelligent design. Similar bills have been introduced in Virginia, Missouri and Oklahoma.

Proponents of intelligent design, which teaches that humans and animals were specially created by an unnamed entity, say it should be taught as an alternative to the scientific theory of evolution by natural selection. However, most scientists say intelligent design doesn't qualify as a theory because it cannot be falsified and has not demonstrated any predictive value.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Maggie Gyllenhaal Is 'The Honorable Woman': A Series Both Ruthless And Rewarding

The eight-part drama that begins Thursday stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as a British baroness with an Israeli passport. She's a fearless actor in a show full of kidnappings, seductions and betrayals.
NPR

When China Spurns GMO Corn Imports, American Farmers Lose Billions

China has been a big and growing market for U.S. corn. But then farmers started planting a kind of genetically engineered corn that's not yet approved in China, and the Chinese government struck back.
NPR

Congress Approves $16.3 Billion VA Health Care Bill

A 91-3 vote in the Senate will send the landmark VA legislation, meant to address widespread problems in the VA health care system, to President Obama for his signature.
NPR

Can Pinterest Compete With Google's Search?

Pinterest has created a database of things that matter to humans. And with a programming team that's largely been hired away from Google, the company has begun offering what it calls "guided search."

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.