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Board Of Education Takes Up Issues With Climate Change In Social Studies Textbooks

Flickr user Corey Seeman (cseeman)

A national group of science educators is pointing to what they call inaccuracies and a political bias in the way that some publishers have presented the subject of climate change in Texas’ 2015 social studies textbooks.

The Texas State Board of Education hears public comment regarding that content today.

Some might ask how the subject of climate change find it’s way into a social studies textbook. The National Center for Science Education Policy Director Josh Rosenau saidthe topic is addressed in proposed textbook’s like McGraw-Hill’s World Economic Geography and Cultures.

“So if you are a society that’s dependent on a species of animal or plant in the wild and climate change is going to cause that move, that could be important for your culture," Rosenau said. "And that’s our culture as Americans.” 

But Rosenau said that’s not how climate change has been presented in many of the submissions up for a textbook review from the SBOE. He said some of the problems may be unintentional inaccuracies and outdated material, but in other cases Rosenau said publishers gave into political pressure by using documentation from the well-known anti-climate change group, the Heartland Institute. 

In other textbooks, publishers tell students that "scientists disagree about what is causing climate change.”

“There’s no reason in a social studies class to be having a scientific debate; a debate about: What does the science say? ” Rosenau said.

The SBOE is set to take up testimony on how climate change as well as how other historical topics are covered in 2015 social studies textbooks today. A final vote is scheduled for November.