|Back to October Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 189||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||OCTOBER 2001|
|Errors, Politics in Science Textbooks|
AUSTIN, TX - Texas parents who reviewed new science textbooks testified last month before the Texas State Board of Education that the books are filled with "errors of omission" and contain "overt bias" intended to persuade students to get involved in political action for liberal causes.
While reviewers often criticize textbook content because of typographical or factual errors, the political overtones of the new science textbooks angered some parents. These parents asserted that portions of the books are completely lacking in sound science and promote an environmental or political agenda. The amount of rain forest that is allegedly being destroyed, for example, differs drastically from one textbook to another. At least one textbook encourages students to write letters to environmental groups about topics such as "saving the whales" and to public officials in favor of various liberal goals.
Parent-reviewers for Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy reported that many of the middle-school science textbooks are biased in favor of the liberal line on global warming, endangered species and land management by government. This group complained that one 8th-grade textbook frightens students to galvanize them into political action.
A spokesman for the Association of American Publishers denies that science textbooks have political agendas, but the Tucson, Arizona-based Center for Environmental Education Research (CEER), which has evaluated more than 200 textbooks over the years, disagrees. CEER states that "two generations of American children have been taught that we are running out of everything - energy, water, minerals - and that humans are 'killing the earth.' Young people today are largely ignorant of the role that human ingenuity, creativity, technology and the free market play in solving the planet's environmental problems."
CEER believes that most textbooks present radical environmental claims, including overpopulation, as scientific fact, yet offer little supporting proof. "Instead of inspiring our children to become scientists, inventors and engineers who confront and solve environmental problems, our schools are busy teaching them to become politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists and regulators."