Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Board Votes to Censor Science Textbooks 

It seems germane to preface the following bizarre installment in textbook censorship that Cy-Fair ISD is facing a $138 million budget shortfall for the 2024-2025 academic year.  

What should have been an innocuous item on textbook adoption after several hard budget decisions took an unexpected turn when a single board member, Natalie Blasingame, led a charge to remove 13 chapters from proposed textbooks covering biology, environmental science, earth systems, health science theory, and principles of education and training. All these textbooks have been adopted by the State Board of Education (a much more conservative body than in years past) and reviewed by district curriculum and instructional staff. The chapters removed by a 6-1 vote included “controversial” topics such as climate change, vaccines, and cultural diversity. 

The decision took place near the end of a more than five-hour meeting where decisions were also made about deep programming and staffing cuts to address the budget shortfall. No one from the public spoke against the surprise move by the board during the meeting, but the lone dissenting board member, Julie Hinaman, expressed concern about acting against the recommendations of staff for these approvals. She worried that should the removed chapters affect the coverage of required standards, then the burden would fall back on district staff to ensure that materials were developed that ensure all content is covered.  

CFISD parent and AFT-Lone Star College member Bryan Henry said in a scathing email to district officials: “This level of ideological influence and micromanagement by a trustee is inappropriate and I question the wisdom of other board members enabling this type of behavior. … I must say that it’s becoming intolerable to witness what y’all are doing to this district. The outrage directed at you by community leaders is warranted.” 

Henry is not the only community member to express concern about the transparency of this move by Texas’ third-largest district. Rep. Jon Rosenthal (D-Houston) whose children went to CFISD and who represents part of the school district in the Texas House said, “All these folks that engage in that sort of, I don’t know, anti-science or anti-expert movement, science and expertise is what allows us to put a man on the moon, what allows us to have … microwave ovens or automobiles. Vaccines eradicated diseases that killed hundreds of thousands of humans. 

“To me,” he added, “it’s just insanity.”