Proposed Texas Textbooks Attacked by Lobbying Group

Published November 6, 2014

Environmental lobbyists are trying to censor the portrayal of climate science in textbooks being considered for adoption by the Texas Board of Education.

The TBOE is in the midst of approving new social studies textbooks for the first time in 12 years. The books could be used in schools for more than a decade. As Texas is a huge market for textbook publishers, when the TBOE adopts a textbook, many school districts across the nation follow.

The National Center for Science Education (NCSE), a group that promotes the view humans are causing catastrophic global warming, sharply criticized the textbooks, issuing a report saying Texas’ proposed textbooks were biased because they present basic questions of climate science as open for debate.

Debating Over Debate

Dr. Minda Berbeco, director of the NCSE, said, “The scientific debate over whether climate change is happening and who is responsible has been over for years,” in a press statement.

Consensus exists on two points: Carbon-dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and humans have had some effect on the earth’s climate. However, the textbooks recognize important questions remain unanswered.

For instance, one proposed textbook states, “Some scientists say it is natural for the Earth’s temperature to be higher for a few years,” and “They predict we’ll have some cooler years and things will even out.” The NCSE claims the textbook writers do not understand the material they are covering, and it says it knows of no publishing climate scientist who holds the views stated in the textbooks. 

However, one of the proposed textbooks, published by McGraw-Hill, cites extensive research from The Heartland Institute establishing numerous scientific studies affirm natural variation of the climate. It suggests scientists disagree on the cause of climate change, and after providing evidence from both sides, asks students to decide for themselves.

“In Texas, questions of climate change certainly aren’t settled,” said Colin Cahoon, a Dallas attorney and Heartland Institute policy advisor. “Efforts by environmentalists to censor textbooks are typical of their tactics to shut down debate and stifle discussion. I’m happy our BOE is standing up for scientific integrity and against the bullying tactics of environmentalists.”

Texas based H. Sterling Burnett ([email protected]) is a research fellow with The Heartland Institute.

Image by wohnai.