Austin, Texas – The Texas Public Policy Foundation today released a 94 page analysis of middle school textbooks under consideration by the State Board of Education for use in Texas public schools. The analysis reveals that the textbooks generally focus on social and political issues, contain factual inaccuracies or insufficient scientific facts, fail to distinguish between fact and theory, omit citations, ignore uncertainties associated with scientific findings, lack objectivity, and mix science with advocacy.
TPPF commissioned Duggan Flanakin, publisher of two Texas environmental newsletters (EI News and EI Compliance Report) to conduct the analysis.
The analysis justifies public concern about environmental science education. Not one of the textbooks for grades 6, 7, or 8 meet standards set by the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) or the Environmental Literacy Council for sound environmental education nor do they provide consistently accurate, factual, comprehensive and objective information about the environment.
"By omitting important facts and by distorting others, these textbooks do not prepare students to think critically about important environmental issues," said Chris Patterson, TPPF Director of Education Research.
More importantly, the textbooks appear to violate state requirements for accuracy and for content specified by state curriculum standards, the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. There is a compelling argument for the State Board of Education to request textbook revisions and to recommend the development of supplemental instructional materials. While the adoption of science textbooks is critically important to Texas, the selection of specific textbooks has equal importance for the nation. Approximately 80 percent of textbook content developed for Texas is adapted and repackaged by major publishers for sales in other states.