The long-simmering battle over teaching evolution in Texas has boiled over again. At issue this time are proposed textbooks that could be used statewide starting next school year. With midnight looming last night, some state education board members singled out a biology textbook by Pearson Education, one of America's largest publishers. Many of their concerns pertained to the theory of evolution. After a lengthy debate that got testy at times, the board voted to have three of its members pick a trio of outside experts to further scrutinize the book.
State law approved two years ago means school districts can now choose their own books and don't have to adhere to a list recommended by the Board of Education—but most have continued to use approved books. Concerns about the Pearson book, raised by a citizen review panel, have included how long it took Earth to cool and objection to lessons about natural selection because "selection operates as a selective but not a creative force," according to reviewers. The board will take final votes in January. (Read more evolution stories.)