We have been getting a number of questions about the teaching of "creationism" and "intelligent design." Here's the state's position:
The Oregon Science Content Standards adopted in April of 2001 clearly require the teaching of evolution. All content standards are adopted through the legislative process and are required in the public schools in Oregon. In addition, each of these standards has underlying benchmarks and eligible content that can be addressed in statewide testing.
The following Oregon Common Curriculum Goals (CCG) and Content Standards (CS) relate most directly to evolution:
CCG: Heredity and CS: Understand the transmission of traits in living things.
CCG: Diversity/Interdependence: Understand the relationships among living things and between living things and their environments.
CS: Describe and analyze diversity of species, natural selection and adaptation
The Oregon Department of Education’s reference handbook, Science Teaching and Learning to Standards, includes the Oregon science standards and provides resources for science educators. In the section on Teaching Evolution in Oregon Classrooms (pages 21-23), we include the following excerpt from the document, "Religion in the Public Schools: A Joint Statement of Current Law," published by the U.S. Department of Education.
"Schools may teach about explanations of life on earth, including religious ones (such as "creationism"), in comparative religion or social studies classes. In science class, however, they may present only genuinely scientific critiques of, or evidence for, any explanation of life on earth, but not religious critiques (beliefs unverifiable by scientific methodology). Schools may not refuse to teach evolutionary theory in order to avoid giving offense to religion nor may they circumvent these rules by labeling as science an article of religious faith. Public schools must not teach as scientific fact or theory any religious doctrine, including "creationism," although any genuinely scientific evidence for or against any explanation of life may be taught. Just as they may neither advance nor inhibit any religious doctrine, teachers should not ridicule, for example, a student’s religious explanation for life on earth."
The full text of the report can be found on the Internet at www.ed.gov/Speeches/04-1995/prayer.html The Teaching and Learning to Standards: Science reference handbook is published annually and available to the public on the Oregon Department of Education website at www.ode.state.or.us/search/results/?id=246
There are no plans to incorporate Intelligent Design in the Oregon science standards. The current Oregon science standards were adopted by the State Board of Education in April 2001. Student accountability on statewide assessments for these standards began in 2002-03.