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Santorum Amendment and UK National Curriculum

Summary of problems:

Neither the United States Congress nor the UK's National Curriculum treat evolution as scientifically controversial nor do they recommend teaching about social controversies. The "policy" statements found in this section of Explore Evolution are misrepresented and misquoted. For example, the so-called "Santorum amendment", was actually removed from No Child Left Behind legislation before it was passed, yet EE quotes it, pretending it has the weight of policy or law. Even if it were the law of the land - which it is not - it only speaks to a political issue, not a scientific controversy. The authors of EE are once again attempting to blur the important distinction between public controversy and scientific controversy.

Full discussion:

Explore Evolution states,
United States federal education policy calls for teaching students about competing views of controversial scientific issues. As the U.S. Congress has stated, "[W]here topics are taught that may generate controversy (such as biological evolution), the curriculum should help students to understand the full range of views that exist." [footnote in original: This statement occurs in the authoritative conference report language of the No Child Left Behind federal education act.] In the United Kingdom, the National Curriculum for Key Stage 4 Science now recommends that, "Pupils should be taught how scientific controversies can arise from different ways of interpreting empirical evidence (for example, Darwin's theory of evolution)."
EE, p. ii

The Congressional "language" was in an amendment that was briefly inserted into the No Child Left Behind bill by a creationist Senator, Rick Santorum, but removed by the committee which unified the versions of the bill passed by the House and Senate. The passage EE cites was never approved by Congress, and was explicitly removed from the bill with the approval of both Houses. It cannot be construed as federal policy, let alone as a statement by Congress, and is not at all "authoritative". For more, see NCSE's discussion of the topic (PDF) for more background and analysis.

The treatment of the U.K.'s "National Curriculum" is equally contorted. The OCR (Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations board - the group responsible for evaluating students' comprehension of issues in the curriculum) explains that they do not regard evolution as a scientific controversy today, only at the time Darwin published:

At OCR, we believe candidates need to understand the social and historical context to scientific ideas both pre and post Darwin. In our Gateway Science specification, candidates are asked to discuss why the opponents of Darwinism thought the way they did and how scientific controversies can arise from different ways of interpreting empirical evidence. Creationism and "intelligent design" are not regarded by OCR as scientific theories. They are beliefs that do not lie within scientific understanding.

The authors of EE lifted some of the wording out of this statement regarding "social and historical context to ideas", deleted the reference to the past in "why the opponents of Darwinism thought the way they did", and added words to make their snippet grammatical. They put quotes around their patchwork and try passing it off as a recommendation found in the U.K.'s "National Curriculum".

The British Minister of Education, who supervises OCR, later explained that "The national curriculum programme of study for science at key stage 4 covers evolution. It sets out that pupils should be taught 'that the fossil record is evidence for evolution' and also 'how variation and selection may lead to evolution or extinction'." Clearly, the British standards contradict the statement in Explore Evolution that there are competing scientific views on evolution's validity and, in fact, affirm the importance of evolution in modern biology.

These two examples of egregious "quote mining" should dispel any notion that Explore Evolution embraces ethical scholarship.