An expected showdown between opponents and supporters of teaching creationism in the classroom has been averted in Texas. For now, at least, science textbooks approved by the Texas State Board of Education will not include any materials or references to creationism or intelligent design.
In March 2009, the board—dominated by conservatives—adopted science standards that scientists said had opened the door to the teaching of intelligent design (Science, 3 April, p. 25; 12 June, p. 1385). For example, the standards required that students be taught to "analyze and evaluate scientific explanations concerning the complexity of the cell."
On Thursday, the board met to discuss new supplemental materials that will be provided to schools to cover the 2009 standards. Among the supplements that had been submitted for the board's consideration were texts promoting intelligent design, produced by a company called International Databases.
Although these texts had been removed from the lineup a few weeks earlier by a review panel, some board members were expected to lobby for it. However, the board made it clear early in the meeting that the texts were not in contention. Later, the board voted to approve nearly all of the other materials that had passed the prior review. None of the supplements approved contains language that would weaken or challenge the teaching of evolution.
The board will hold a final vote today, but nobody is expecting any fireworks.