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Telling the truth in textbooks

| June 17, 2015 | 0 Comments

Truth in Textbooks (TIT), a conservative Texas coalition, is hot under the collar about the way climate change is explained in certain state school textbooks.

Internationally renowned publisher Pearson Education has released a Grade 5 social studies textbook that says: “As the amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases increase, the Earth warms. Scientists warn that climate change, caused by this warming, will pose challenges to society.”

TIT says this is alarmist language that should be rephrased to indicate to students that climate change is an opinion rather than a proven fact. The group has decided to rate a range of textbooks as either ‘good’, ‘acceptable’, ‘poor’ or ‘worse’.

TIT was formed in 2014 by Texan citizens who felt compelled to damn some textbooks as ‘anti-Christian’ and ‘anti-American’. TIT has stated publicly that its deep concern springs from the fact that textbooks are often where young people first encounter influential content. In Texas, more than five million children will use a certain textbook for more than a decade. It’s also the second-largest market for textbooks behind California in the US.

TIT’s influence is such that it has been asked to share its rating system with similar groups in California, Florida, Indiana, Maine, Nevada, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin.

Publisher Pearson has been through the ringer. Ahead of recent textbook assessments made by the Texas Board of Education, the publisher was pressured to strip out passages that cast doubt on climate change after fierce criticism from the Texas Freedom Network – a left-leaning advocacy group that pushes for man-made global warming to be taught in schools – and Climate Parents – an organisation dedicated to teaching climate science.

Eighty-nine new social studies textbooks have now been approved in Texas. TIT has vowed to send out a report to school districts detailing the grades assigned to each book. TIT members are also gearing up to distribute their ratings among concerned citizens groups and parentteacher organisations.

Category: Winter 2015

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