A number of the people making up the panel that will review science textbooks for use in Texas classrooms are proponents of creationism or intelligent design, the New York Times reports. Six people on the 28-member panel are known to reject evolution, according to the Times.
Because of Texas' size, the textbooks it selects often sways what books are used throughout the US, though the Times notes that the state's influence is on a downswing as digital editions proliferate and as other states adopt new, national science education guidelines.
The Texas panel was nominated by the State Board of Education as well as by parents and educators, though the state education commissioner made the final appointments. The panel has reviewed a number of textbooks, including ones from well-known publishers, and the state board is to vote on and approve the books in November.
The reviews by the panel, the Times says, sometimes dispute the science presented. "The fossil record can be interpreted in other ways than evolutionary with equal justification," one review says, according to the Times.
Still, the paper says that there is little mention of creationism or intelligent design in the reviews. "Instead they borrow buzzwords common in education, [like] 'critical thinking,' saying there is simply not enough evidence to prove evolution," it adds.