The Texas Board of Education voted on Thursday to nominate a three-person expert panel to determine whether a prospective biology text contains “errors” as relates to the theory of evolution, the Associated Press reported.
Some of the board’s more conservative members opposed recommending the book for use in the state’s classrooms after the publisher, Pearson Education, objected to complaints from similarly conservative “volunteer reviewers,” some of whom argued against the existence of climate change. Another reviewer reportedly called for lessons based on biblical texts. Pearson has challenged the reviewers’ claim that the book contains 20 errors.
The ensuing debate among board members led to conservative Republicans facing off with more moderate party colleagues, who joined with Democrats in questioning the reviewers’ motivations.
“I believe this process is being hijacked,” vice chair Thomas Ratliff was quoted as saying. “This book is being held hostage to make political changes.”
The board voted on Friday to confirm its decision to hold the book over for review. The panelists have yet to be determined. If the panel determines that the discrepancies in the book can not be resolved, it will debate the book’s merits at its January board meeting.
Earlier this year, former chair Don McLeroy told the board it should endorse books teaching creationism alongside evolution, arguing that “by so doing, you will strike the final blow to the teaching of evolution.”
Watch a report on the board’s debate, as posted by the Huffington Post, below.
[Image: "Smart Boy With Glasses Study Different Literature In The Library" via Shutterstock]