Genesis of a bad idea


  • Michael Carlowicz


According to an article in Business Week (June 10), Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Inc. has agreed to custom-publish a version of its fourth-grade textbook Changing Earth in order to omit a chapter entitled “Birth of Earth.” Parents in the Cobb County, Georgia, school district complained that since the chapter does not include creationism as a theory for the origin of the universe and of Earth, the entire discussion ought to be left out.

According to McGraw-Hill, customizing its textbooks is good business. Changing Earth and other such books are designed to allow teachers to build their own programs; the company is willing to customize texts because it does not want to dictate curricula, and it tries to meet demands of school districts. Business Week noted that the theory of evolution still is taught in the sixth and eighth grades, as well as high school, in Cobb County. Changing Earth also contains references to evolution in other chapters besides the one being deleted.