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NCSE is pleased to announce the winners of the Friend of Darwin award for 2014: Eric Rothschild, Stephen G. Harvey, Witold Walczak, Richard B. Katskee, and Faye Flam. The first four recipients led the victorious legal team representing the plaintiffs in Kitzmiller v. Dover, the 2005 case establishing the unconstitutionality of teaching "intelligent design" in the public schools; Flam, a science journalist, wrote "Planet of the Apes" — the only newspaper column dedicated to evolution — for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 2010 to 2012.
Wyoming's newspapers continue to carry a variety of news and comment following the legislature's decision to preclude the use of any state funds to review or adopt the Next Generation Science Standards — a decision reportedly owing to objections to the NGSS's treatment of climate change, as NCSE previously reported — and the state board of education's subsequent decision not to implement the standards. Of particular interest are a guest column from a professor in the department of plant sciences at the University of Wyoming, a report on how teachers in Laramie, the third largest city in the state, are going to proceed, and a brief commentary from NCSE's deputy director.
A new poll from the Associated Press and GfK asked (PDF) respondents not whether they agree or disagree, but how confident they are, about various claims about science. The Associated Press (April 21, 2014) summarized, "Americans have more skepticism than confidence in global warming, the age of the Earth and evolution and have the most trouble believing a Big Bang created the universe 13.8 billion years ago."
Editorialists and columnists in Wyoming are irate with the state government after the state board of education decided not to implement the Next Generation Science Standards. As NCSE previously reported, a footnote in Wyoming's budget for 2014-2016 precluded the use of state funds "for any review or adoption" of the Next Generation Science Standards, and one of its authors acknowledged that the NGSS's treatment of climate change was a reason for the prohibition. It was hoped that the board might have adopted the NGSS with the funds available to it before the new budget period begins. Instead, at its April 11, 2014, meeting, the board referred the standards back to a state department of education committee — which previously unanimously recommended the adoption of the NGSS.