In November 2001, the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) will be considering science textbooks for use in grade 6 to 12 classrooms for the next six to eight years. After review by the Texas Education Agency and public hearings, approval by the SBOE means that a given text meets the minimum educational standards required by the state. Local school boards are then provided with a list of textbooks from which they can select textbooks, but districts are not limited to that list. Citizens also have opportunity to participate in the selection process in their independent school districts.
In view of recent allegations of factual errors, errors of omission and of bias in some of the texts currently under consideration, it is crucial that the legislature craft and implement a plan that restores scientific integrity to the books that teach our children, and to restore parents’ confidence that their children are getting the best possible education.
It is our hope that the decision made by the SBOE and ultimately the plan devised by the legislature will put decisions in the hands of elected officials, teachers, parents and citizens and will reflect these common-sense goals.
Our children deserve the best education we can give them. Bias has no place in the classroom. Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy offer the following seven principles of academic integrity in the classroom.
PRINCIPLES OF ACADEMIC INTEGRITY
Texas textbooks should adhere to the Texas Education Code: Ch 28, Subch A, Sec 28.002. “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 an appreciation for the basic democratic values of our state and national heritage.”
Textbooks used in public schools should:
reflect the latest, most accurate scholarship.
strive to avoid presenting theories and hypotheses still under debate as fact.
strive to present all points of view and refrain from advocacy.
avoid citing or incorporating material from non-academic or special interest sources.
be reviewed by a combination of competent academic professionals from the disciplines germane to their subject matter, parents, and citizens to insure accuracy and a bias free product.
Parents and citizens should be encouraged to work with teachers and elected officials to help make sure the textbooks used meet these principles for academic integrity.