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Thank you for your service to the Citizens of Texas as members of the SBOE. We are all here today because we care about the future of our country – and about the education of our most precious resource, our children.
I have heard much talk about CSE being the squeaky wheel and seen emails calling us names and attempting to marginalize us in an effort to reduce our credibility. CSE is an organization with 48,000 Texas members who care deeply about this country. We want the taxpayers of Texas to be confident that Texas schoolchildren have access to the best educational materials available. We have confidence that teachers, parents and taxpayers share our objectives.
We want the $571 million spent on textbooks this biennium to be spent wisely.
Textbooks should present American values, democracy and freedom as concepts important to our country and to us as citizens. The Texas Legislature, in its wisdom, provided for that in Chapter 28, Subchapter A, Section 28.002 (h) of the Texas Education Code which states,
"The State Board of Education and each school district shall foster the continuation of the tradition of teaching United States and Texas history and the free enterprise system in regular subject matter and in reading courses and in the adoption of textbooks. A primary purpose of the public school curriculum is to prepare thoughtful, active citizens who understand the importance of patriotism and can function productively in a free enterprise society with appreciation for the basic democratic values of our state and national heritage."
We do not want to lump all textbooks in the same category but we were concerned that environmental science issues presented in most of the textbooks were little more than radical environmentalist workbooks and are not based on sound science.
Whereas we had some concerns regarding the middle school science textbooks, many of those have been addressed and we are not recommended they be rejected. Some textbook publishers have been particularly receptive to the concerns of citizens and we appreciate their efforts. Publishers like Glenco and their willingness to respond to concerns are in stark contrast to the arrogance of Jones and Bartlett letter stating they would accept NO changes…though changes included typos.
As requested, I have cited passages from each of the environmental science textbooks, passages that serve as representative examples of the text. Please note that you have more extensive reviews, which CSE provided which are more complete, though not all inclusive.
In the textbook Environmental Science, Creating A Sustainable Future, published by Jones and Bartlett, Page 28, Chapter 3: Roots of the Environmental Crisis -- This sections blames Christianity, Democracy and Industrialization, and Biological and Evolutionary Roots as causing the so-called "crisis."
The reference to evolution, Christianity, democracy and industrialization are problematic at best – they are highly offensive to patriotic Americans and to Christians. But blaming Democracy as a "root cause of the environmental crisis" is outrageous AND runs counter to not only the US Constitution and our Founding Documents, to our system of government, and is in direct opposition to the Texas law.
Page 29 reads: "The chapter’s exploration of the roots of the environmental crisis is intended to help you not only comprehend things better but also understand the key leverage points where change can be effected."
One can only assume the change this author would encourage would be to move from a democratic form of government to socialism!
Then on Page 32, the text reads: "Some scholars believe that the spread of democracy, which put land ownership and wealth in the hands of many, and the Industrial Revolution, which made mass production of goods possible and spread wealth throughout society, are at the root of the environmental crisis."
Again, this is an outrageous statement, filled with bias – democracy and property rights are the foundation of our Constitution and our system of government. The statement is anti-free market, and anti-American.
Another of the Environmental Science textbooks, Global Science Energy Resources Environment, Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company
Page 203 After adequately setting certain thoughts in the student’s mind, the author can confidently state. "If world population becomes too large, it may be desirable to go through a post-transition phase in which birth rates drop even lower than death rates. This way, the population could be reduced to some desired, optimum level." Who would determine those desired levels?
Page 641: Text provides two arguments in favor of the free market system (it is efficient and emphasizes personal freedom) then on the next two pages are 7 "flaws" of the free market. One stated "flaw" is that free market forces do not provide for long-term planning. It is difficult to fund needed research and development when the requested funding cuts into short-term profits.” I don’t know what business school these authors attended but this doesn’t make business sense.
How does this teach the free enterprise system as demanded by the Texas Education Code? It does not.
Additionally, the two pages of flaws in the free market system are followed by three pages of points of government’s role "to lessen the injustices and to improve the benefits of the free market system."
This material is not balanced and is clearly biased and has errors of omission.
The other textbook, Environmental Science, LeBel Publishers:
Page 61 Highlighted statement: "Invasive species are costly. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, the cost to our Nation’s economy is $123 billion each year. After destruction of habitat by human activities, invasive species are the worst threat to endangered species and biodiversity."
I am familiar with the Endangered Species Act as I worked at the US Dept of the Interior and was director of the Take Pride in America program during part of my tenure there.
In the Executive Order, Invasive Species
Section 1. Definitions.
(a) "Alien species" means, with respect to a particular ecosystem, any species, including its seeds, eggs, spores, or other biological material capable of propagating that species, that is not native to that ecosystem.
There is no mention of man being an invasive species. Furthermore, on page 61 – text should be changed and quote from Babbitt removed. A quote form current Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton should be used instead.
Page 75 Environmental Challenge Box: "President Bush did not support efforts to save the earth’s biodiversity."(Makes it sound as though President Bush supported destroying the earth’s biodiversity. Political and untrue.) "The United States was the only leading power that did not sign the biodiversity treaty in 1992 Earth Summit." (No discussion of the reasons the treaty was not signed.) "After President Bush lost his bid for reelection, President Clinton signed the biodiversity treaty." (Again political and presents a positive view of Clinton actions, without mentioning that Congress did not ratify the treaty. This is a political discussion, not a discussion on environmental issues and is totally inappropriate for a science text!)
Moreover, without explaining the problems with the Biodiversity Treaty, which puts decision making in the hands of the UN and out of our control, the text asks:
What do you think about saving the earth’s biodiversity?
How important is it that there be an international commitment to saving biodiversity?
What criteria would you sue to assess the value of an ecosystem?
The treaty itself has little to do with our value of the ecosystem or biodiversity per se – its defeat had everything to do with protecting our sovereignty and our freedom.
We are all environmentalists – we all want clean air to breathe, clean water to drink and a healthy environment. We must also rely on sound science, our democratic system of government, and work diligently to protect our freedom.
We entered a new era on September 11. Our greatest challenge is to protect what our fathers, grandfathers and forefathers fought to provide us…our freedom. September 11 was not an attack on our military or our financial institutions but an attack on our freedom. We MUST defend attacks on our freedom both from outside our borders and from within.
I am a mother and a proud, patriotic American who has optimism for the future – and I likely would not have that sense of patriotism and optimism had I been taught from these environmental science textbooks. I have read the textbooks we are recommending you reject – if you have not, we’ve done your homework for you.
The eyes of Texas are on you and this vote.
Today more than ever, we as Americans have much at risk – our children’s education and even our nation’s security. We are asking respectfully that you uphold the letter of the law. We must say “no” to textbooks demeaning American values, democracy and freedom. Please vote to reject the three environmental textbooks.