McGraw-Hill, the second-largest educational publisher in the world, has removed key passages from a proposed Texas textbook that cast doubt on climate science.
The publisher told education watchdog group Texas Freedom Network on Monday that it cut material from a sixth-grade social-studies textbook up for review by the Texas Board of Education that sparked intense criticism from activists who said the textbook provided misleading information to students about man-made global warming.
McGraw-Hill's announcement comes less than a week before the board votes to adopt a new set of social-studies textbooks in Texas. The news also comes days after Pearson Education, the largest textbook publisher in the world, moved to cut passages from its proposed textbook that had faced similar climate criticism.
Here's what McGraw-Hill's textbook previously stated:
Scientists agree that Earth's climates are changing. Not all individuals, however, agree on the causes of these changes.
That section will now be cut from the textbook.
Ninety-five percent of scientists agree that human activity is the lead cause of global warming, a consensus that is roughly equivalent to the scientific agreement that smoking cigarettes can kill.
Last week, Pearson Education announced that it would strike sections from a proposed fifth-grade social studies textbook indicating that scientists disagree over the cause of climate change.
McGraw-Hill, however, had held out during the revision process. The textbook publisher slightly altered an earlier version of its textbook, which had similarly stated that scientists "do not agree on what is causing" global warming.
But education watchdogs said the edit failed to address the fundamental problem after McGraw-Hill changed the textbook's language to say: "Not all individuals … agree on the causes" of global warming.
Activists led by the National Center for Science Education and the left-leaning advocacy group Texas Freedom Network also took issue with an activity in the McGraw-Hill textbook that asked students to analyze "two different points of view" on global warming.
The first viewpoint was presented by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It stated that it is not likely that global warming is driven by natural causes.
The second viewpoint came from the Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank famous for denying the scientific consensus on global warming. It stated that it is impossible to know whether human activity is a major driver of climate change.
That activity will also be struck from the final version of the textbook.
The changes come after weeks of pressure from education watchdogs and left-leaning activists who denounced the earlier inclusion of material they said distorted the science of climate change.
Activists cheered McGraw-Hill's decision on Monday.
"Pearson, McGraw-Hill and the other publishers did the right thing by making these changes," Josh Rosenau, the programs and policy center for the National Center for Science Education said. "They listened to us and the nation's leading scientific and educational societies, ensuring that students will learn the truth about the greatest challenge they'll confront as citizens of the 21st century."
This article appears in the November 18, 2014 edition of NJ Daily.