The Texas Freedom Network say book review teams for the State Board of Education are pressuring publishing companies to change how climate change and evolution are presented in next year’s biology textbooks.
The SBOE set up several groups to review different textbooks and this week their comments and suggested changes have been made public.
Texas Freedom Network's Executive Director Kathy Miller said they suspected that the review teams would go after evolution and climate change.
The process for screening Texas science textbooks has been contentious to say the least. Whether kids should be taught the "other" theories of creation in science textbooks is at the heart of the controversy.
Professor Michael Soto, a former State Board of Education member, explains how the board operates with reviewers along with documentary filmmaker Scott Thurman, whose documentary "The Revisionaries" took a critical look at the SBOE process a few years ago.
Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams has sent Texas school districts a legal advisory letter reminding them that they must hold public meetings in order to adopt any curriculum provider, including online lesson plan provider CSCOPE.
Williams said his letter is not meant to discourage use of CSCOPE, only to point out the law under SB 1474, which requires a public meeting about a district's choice in curriculum.
Williams said this step creates local control and transparency.
Sparks flew on and off the stage in Tyler, Texas, during the debate about online lesson plan provider CSCOPE between State Board of Education member Thomas Ratliff and lieutenant governor candidate Dan Patrick, both Republicans.
State Board of Education member Thomas Ratliff, who is a Republican, has backed the use of online lesson plan provider CSCOPE from the beginning, but the groups making the push to impeach are not using that as their reason to oust him.
"They allege that because I represent Microsoft as a paid lobbyist at the Texas Legislature that that somehow disqualifies me or gives me a conflict of interest on the State Board of Education," Ratliff said.
Is CSCOPE an education resource designed to help struggling school districts? Or is it a vast anti-American conspiracy that uses Texas classrooms to convert children to Islam and communism?
CSCOPE is an online curriculum management resource developed by the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative (TESCCC), a group made up of the 20 education service centers in the state. The group develops their curriculum framework through several sources.