Texas has a long history of producing school textbooks influenced by hard-right conservatives, but we had hoped those days were over.
Of more than 140 people on the textbook panels, only three are actually college-level educators. For example, the chair of the History Department at Southern Methodist University, who is also faculty at the University of Texas at Austin, applied to be on the history panel, but was turned down. Instead the US History panel includes a former car salesman who runs a Christian ministry in his hometown and had been a Republican nominee to the Texas Legislature (and who publicly announced that he does not “believe that there is a separation of church and state in the Constitution.”)
Needless to say, a review of the proposed textbooks found numerous mistakes, conservative bias, and overt religious messages. (Well at least Christian messages. In general, Muslims are portrayed negatively.)
There are also cartoons making fun of affirmative action, and perhaps worst of all, contain numerous inaccurate statements about climate change and climate science. For example, one textbook says that global warming will cause Earth’s temperature to rise for only a few years before temperatures will start to cool and eventually “even out”. The textbook even quotes non-scientist staffers from the Heartland Institute, a Koch-funded libertarian think tank whose climate doctrine has been discredited.
Unfortunately, because Texas is such a large market for textbooks, these problems will also show up in textbooks adopted by other states.