State News Roundup

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The Texas Board of Education has voted unanimously to require that geology textbooks approved for use in the state's high schools include discussion of the theory of evolution.

The requirement, contained in the board's textbook proclamation for the 1990-91 school year, marks the first time Texas has mandated that evolution be referred to by name in science texts.

The proclamation, a call for bids to provide textbooks, is used by publishers as a guide for writing texts to be considered for statewide adoption.

The state restricted discussion of evolution in its textbooks until 1984, when biology texts were last adopted.

Since then, requirements have called for information on "scientific theories of the origin of the universe.''

The state's commissioner of education, William Kirby, told the board this month that the new requirement "is a matter of being more honest'' about what textbooks contain.

"If we are teaching evolution, we ought to say that we are teaching evolution,'' he said.

Some Texas geology books have referred to evolution by other names, such as "extinction theory,'' according to a spokesman for the state board.

Textbooks are adopted every six years in Texas. The current proclamation covers geology textbooks to be ready for review in May of 1989.

A proposal adopted by the Minnesota Board of Education would make it the first state to test students' knowledge of AIDS, but a bill being considered by the legislature would prevent the board from requiring all districts to offer AIDS education.

The proposal, passed by the board last month, requires 6th- and 10th-grade students to be tested on their knowledge of the disease and the ways it can be prevented. The proposal also requires districts to offer instruction on AIDS and communicable diseases for grades K-12.

In the legislature, however, the chairman of the House education committee has said he backs a bill that would block the board's plan.

Vol. 07, Issue 27

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