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"Battle on teaching evolution sharpens" -- Peter Slevin's story on the creationism/evolution controversy -- appeared on the front page of the March 14, 2005, issue of the Washington Post. "Propelled by a polished strategy crafted by activists on America's political right," Slevin begins, "a battle is intensifying across the nation over how students are taught about the origins of life.
Discontented with the scientifically accurate treatment of evolution in the draft revision of the state science standards, the antievolutionist majority on the Kansas Board of Education is continuing to try to concoct a justification for overruling the consensus of the writing committee.
House Bill 2607, introduced in the Arkansas House of Representatives as a shell bill on March 4, 2005, and amended and engrossed on March 10, is intended to allow the teaching of "intelligent design" as "a parallel to evolutionary theory" in the public schools of Arkansas. If enacted, the bill would require the state Department of Education to include "intelligent design" in its educational frameworks and encourage teachers in the state to include it in their lesson plans.
Senate Bill 2286 has died in the Education Committee of the Mississippi Senate, according to the legislature's website. The bill would have required "balanced treatment to the theory of scientific creationism and the theory of evolution."
Two evolution-related measures have failed to progress through the Montana legislature and are dead for this session. March 1 was the deadline for bills to pass in their first house. One potential bill, known by its draft number of LC1199, was never formally introduced. Sponsored by Rep. Roger Koopman, the bill had a short title reading: "Allow teaching competing theories of origin". This bill apparently never completed the drafting process.
A member of the board of education of the Shelby County Schools has proposed a textbook disclaimer sticker for biology books used in the district. Shelby County surrounds the city of Memphis. According to news reports from the Associated Press and the Memphis Commercial Appeal, board member Wyatt Bunker made the suggestion at the February 15 board meeting. The proposed text of the sticker reads
On February 10, 2005, the American Civil Liberties Union announced that the Beebe School District in Beebe, Arkansas, agreed to remove warning labels from its science textbooks which describe evolution as "a controversial theory" and refer to an "intelligent designer" as a possible explanation of the origin of life.
In the wake of the November 2004 elections in Kansas, antievolutionists gained the majority of seats on the state board of education, and they are now using their 6-4 majority to try to undermine the treatment of evolution in the state science standards, which are undergoing revision. A first draft of the revised standards was submitted to the board in December 2004, and approved, despite complaints that the opinions of antievolutionists were ignored. Efforts to incorporate a "minority report" written with the aid of a local "intelligent design" organization were unsuccessful.