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This article is from the In-Depth Report New Challenges for Evolution Education
60-Second Science

Texas Messes with History

Long a proponent of including nonscientific creationism in the biology curriculum, the Texas State Board of Education last week further illustrated its willingness to sacrifice accuracy for ideology by excluding Thomas Jefferson from a list of influential historical figures. Steve Mirsky reports

The Texas Board of Education has long promoted the teaching of creationism in schools instead of actual science. Its former chairman and current member Don McLeroy uttered this immortal line when confronted with numerous actual scientists urging that evolution be discussed accurately in the curriculum: “I disagree with these experts. Somebody’s gotta stand up to experts that are just…I think, I don’t know why they’re doing it, they’re wonderful people.”

This stuff is important nationwide. Because Texas buys so many textbooks. So textbook publishers tailor their products so that they’ll be marketable in Texas. And many places around the country get stuck with the same books.

Last week, the Texas Board revised its history standards. And it decreed that a list of people who were influential in fomenting revolutions would no longer include Thomas Jefferson. The board’s not crazy about Jefferson because of the whole separation of church and state thing. But if the guy who wrote the Declaration of Independence doesn’t meet your standards, maybe it’s really time to start listening to experts.

—Steve Mirsky 

[The above text is an exact transcript of this podcast.]

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