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Texas school board stuns the country with recent move in book banning: ‘Members of the board are clearly motivated …’

“The selection of certain images can make things appear worse than they are, and I believe there was bias.”

“The selection of certain images can make things appear worse than they are, and I believe there was bias.”

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As the planet heats up because of pollution, education about the issue is the most crucial step in solving it. Yet in Texas, the board of education seems more interested in promoting dirty energy than in giving students accurate information about it. 

In November, the board rejected more than half of the proposed eighth-grade textbooks for being “negative” about the dirty energy that contributes to rising global temperatures, the Guardian reported.

What happened?

On Nov. 17, Texas’s State Board of Education met to vote on 12 eighth-grade science textbooks for the state’s more than 1,000 school districts. While the districts are not required to use the board-approved textbooks, the board’s decision holds a lot of weight, the Guardian explained.

Of the 12 textbooks presented, the board rejected seven, citing concerns about the way the oil and gas industries were portrayed.

Aaron Kinsey, a board member who is also an executive of a Texas oilfield services company, reportedly said during the discussion, “The selection of certain images can make things appear worse than they are, and I believe there was bias.”

“You want to see children smiling in oilfields?” asked Democratic board member Aicha Davis.

The decision was likely influenced by Texas’s extremely profitable oil and gas industries, the Guardian reported. Texas railroad commissioner Wayne Christian, who oversees the industry in the state, sent the board’s chairman a letter about “concerns for potential textbooks that could promote a radical environmentalist agenda.”

Why does the board’s choice of textbooks matter?

As clean energy has gotten more advanced, it’s become the most affordable option, with solar and wind power saving Texas residents $20 million a day and electric cars saving drivers over $1,000 a year.

At the same time, choosing these less-polluting alternatives is better for the planet, since dirty energy creates air pollution that traps heat in Earth’s atmosphere.

Giving students accurate information about the climate and their energy alternatives will prepare them to make smart, cost-effective, and eco-friendly decisions as adults. Refusing to tell them the truth sets them up to waste money and harm the environment.

Also, as Glenn Branch, deputy director of the National Center on Science Education, told the Guardian, “Members of the board are clearly motivated to take some of these textbooks off of the approved list because of their personal and ideological beliefs regarding evolution and climate change.”

What’s being done to improve education about pollution?

To date, 44 other states have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards for K-12 curriculum, which teaches that rising temperatures are a real problem caused by humans and that reducing air pollution can fix the issue. Texas residents can vote for new board members who support these standards.

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