For the first time since 2002, the Texas State Board of Education is considering the adoption of new social studies textbooks. The books must incorporate 2010 state social studies standards, which have been criticized as right-wing biased and blatantly conservative.
Yet after the first round of public testimony and state board meetings, some textbook publishers still have not amended implications that climate change does not exist. Several books allude to supposed disagreements within the scientific community about the causes of climate change, and include academic citations from conservative, denialist groups such as the Heartland Institute.
At a press conference Wednesday, advocates at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, and the American Association for Physics Teachers spoke against the textbooks' implications of climate change denialism.
"Parents cannot trust McGraw Hill and Pearson because these national publishers are knowingly misleading students about climate change," Lisa Hoyos, director of Climate Parents, said.
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"It is unethical to lie to kids to begin with, but to lie to them about an issue that so deeply will affect our schoolchildren's future is simply reckless."
The move comes after a study by the National Center for Science Education pointed to glaring errors in climate change narratives within the textbooks. The errors, more subversive than blatant, convey the sense that climate change is debatable. Teachers are even encouraged, in some instructor companion guides, to spark a discussion among students on the very existence, rather than any proposed solutions, to climate change.
"Students in school today will graduate into a world shaped by climate change, and they deserve textbooks that tell students what scientists have known for decades: Humans are causing climate change," Josh Rosenau, policy director of the NCSE said.
"It's time for publishers to focus on the needs of students in every state, not the political squabbles of the Texas board of education."