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Texas Science Education Evolving?

The Texas Board of Education is still wrestling over the teaching of evolution in science classes, and the latest round in this ongoing bout between some creationists and supporters of teaching science went late into the evening last night, the Associated Press reports.

At a meeting in Austin, the board was unable to approve a new science textbook from Pearson Education due to concerns about its handling of evolution, and opted to select a three-member panel of experts to "scrutinize the book," the AP says.

Social conservatives on the Texas board have long sought changes to the state's science texts. They have wanted to have disclaimers added to the books that would cast doubt on evolution, or even to require that 'creation science' be taught alongside evolution, though it would violate a US Supreme Court decision banning the teaching of creationism in science classes.

The Pearson science textbook includes a sort of disclaimer, albeit one that is pro-evolution.

"All historical records are incomplete, and the history of life is no exception. The evidence we do have, however, tells an unmistakable story of evolutionary change," the Pearson text reads, the Dallas Morning News reported this week.

The Texas board's struggles over evolution have been watched closely by educators and the science community across the country because many textbooks developed for Texas schoolchildren are marketed around the US, due to the size of the Texas market.

Now, the issues have to do with a list of 20 objections to the Pearson text's coverage of evolution and geology that the textbook maker has disputed.

If the panel of outside experts can work out these issues, the book will be approved. If not, the book will be up for consideration again at the board's January meeting, the AP reports.