Texas SBOE member says oil and gas industry influenced decision to reject textbooks

The board recently decided to reject seven of 12 eighth-grade science textbooks that are now required to include some information on climate change.

texas sboe member says oil and gas industry influenced decision to reject textbooks
texas sboe member says oil and gas industry influenced decision to reject textbooks
Credit: WFAA Texas State Board of Education member Aicha Davis.

TEXAS, USA — Texas State Board of Education member Aicha Davis says the state is not being straightforward with Texas students about climate change.

“We had a huge opportunity to make sure students understood about sustainability, about climate change, about our opportunities to make sure we leave something to future generations, but we decided not to have that information in our textbooks,” Davis told us on Inside Texas Politics.

The Republican-controlled board recently decided to reject seven of 12 eighth-grade science textbooks that are now required to include some information on climate change.

Davis says many of her colleagues decided the rejected books went too far, teaching students how to advocate for solutions to climate change, for instance, or that they taught climate change as settled science.

These decisions, Davis said, were influenced by the oil and gas industry in Texas.

“My colleagues clearly said it over and over. They wanted to make sure oil and gas was only seen in a positive light, minimal information about clean energy, lots of positive things about oil and gas,” said the board member from Dallas.

School districts don’t have to choose textbooks from the SBOE-approved list, but those that are approved are guaranteed to follow the state’s curriculum standards.

Because of that, Davis thinks some districts may still choose to use some of the resources that were denied.

And she thinks most science teachers will take care of the rest.

“It won’t be, necessarily, in those textbooks and resources, but that’s just the minimal that students need to learn. Teachers can still go into these topics. They can still give students all the information and knowledge that they need. But unfortunately, we did not adopt textbooks that really dove deep into those topics,” Davis explained.

Aicha Davis is a candidate for state House District 109, held by state Rep. Carl Sherman, D-DeSoto, who is vacating his seat because he’s running for U.S. Senate.

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