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On March 4, the proposed Minnesota science standards were approved by the House Education Policy Committee when it voted 18-12 to pass House file 2558. Most of the debate over HF 2558 centered on the contentious social science standards; according to the Saint Paul Pioneer-Press, the science standards "generated little discussion during the two-hour debate. The bill still has several committee stops before it reaches the House floor. The Senate Education Committee has not yet taken any votes on the science or social studies standards."
House Bill 391, one of two antievolution bills in the Alabama legislature, was passed by the House Education Committee by a vote of 10-2 (with one abstention) on March 3.
During an on-line colloquy about science policy in the Bush administration conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education on March 5, John H. Marburger III, director of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, was asked about the Bush administration's scientific credibility in light of the president's reported skepticism about evolution. He replied, "Evolution is a cornerstone of modern biology," adding, "Much of the work supported by the National Institutes of Health depends heavily on the concepts of evolution.
NCSE was prominently featured in James Glanz's article "Montana Creationism Bid Evolves Into Unusual Fight," which appeared on Sunday, February 29, 2004, in The New York Times. Glanz's article focused on the phenomenon of organized grassroots resistance to antievolutionist attempts to compromise evolution education, taking the controversy in Darby, Montana, as a prime example.
On February 24, House Bill 2194 was passed by the Oklahoma state House by a vote of 96-0. As originally introduced on February 2, HB 2194 required textbook publishers to furnish the State Textbook Committee with electronic files for the production of Braille versions of textbooks in conformance with U.S. Department of Education standards. On February 23, the bill was amended to include a new section that requires all textbooks that discuss evolution to include a long disclaimer.
A parent in Helena, Montana, is attempting to have a book about horses removed from her local elementary school library because it devotes two pages to discussing equine evolution.
NCSE is pleased to announce a further addition to Voices for Evolution: a statement on evolution and intelligent design from the Society for Neuroscience, reading in part, "Recognizing that the theory of Evolution is the fundamental scientific theory or cornerstone that helps us to understand and study the origins and diversity of living organisms, the Society for Neuroscience supports teaching evolution in science classrooms, and opposes the assertion that Intelligent Design Theory (ID) is a valid scientific alternative."
On February 19, the Georgia Department of Education released revised versions of proposed new science standards, with major changes in the sections dealing with evolution. When the drafts of the Georgia Performance Standards for Science were first released for public comment in January, the word "evolution," as well as most of the significant concepts related to this topic, were not included in them.
More than 250 Missouri scientists and educators have released a statement opposing proposed legislation requiring equal time for "intelligent design" whenever evolution is taught. House Bill 911 in the Missouri General Assembly was filed earlier this year, and has been receiving attention within the state, although it has not yet moved beyond the introduction stage.