© Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd. The treatment of electric flux in most textbooks on introductory physics, at least in the English language, differs radically from the definitions prescribed by the statutory and intergovernmental organizations (CGPM, BIPM, IUPAP, IUPAC, NIST, etc). The approach also conflicts with the treatment of the topic in many electrical engineering texts. Furthermore, it is at variance with the standard treatment of matter elsewhere in the curriculum (e.g., mechanical or thermal properties). Historical reasons for this discrepancy are investigated and it is suggested that resolving this conflict would be beneficial to the teaching and learning of this and related topics.