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Exposing the flaws of the Kansas science standards


The president of Kansas Citizens for Science, Jack Krebs, is to speak on the flaws of the Kansas science standards at five venues in the state: July 24 in Overland Park, July 27 in Hutchinson, July 28 in Garden City, July 29 in Hays, and July 31 in Kansas City. Krebs was a member of the committee that wrote the original set of science standards, in which evolution was properly represented. But in November 2005, the creationist majority on the state board of education adopted a set of science standards rewritten, under the guidance of local "intelligent design" activists, to impugn the scientific status of evolution.

The antievolution standards were denounced by a host of critics, including a group of 38 Nobel laureates (PDF), the National Science Teachers Association, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute for Biological Sciences, the committee that wrote the original standards, the authors of the Fordham Foundation's report (PDF) on state science standards, and the Kansas Association of Teachers of Science. In addition, the standards have been rejected by at least one local school district.

Krebs's presentations are likely to attract not only state but national attention, since the August 1, 2006, Kansas primary election is approaching. Three of the six antievolution members of the board -- John Bacon in District 3, Connie Morris in District 5, and Ken Willard in District 7 -- are facing challengers in the primary election, while a fourth, Iris Van Meter in District 9, is not seeking re-election. Thus the primary election (as well as the general election in November) affords a chance for supporters of evolution education to change the balance of power on the board, just as they did in 2000.