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School Board May Change Evolution Policy

On August 26 the school board of Washakie County School District #1, in Worland, Wyoming, voted to consider changing the district's policy on teaching biology. According to an Associated Press news report the proposed change reads: "It shall be the policy ... when teaching Darwin's theory of evolution that it is only a theory and not a fact.

"Don't Mess With Textbooks!"

"Evolution is a normal part of science and should be treated the same way as all other scientific ideas." That was the message to Texas authorities from the authors of leading biology textbooks, delivered on September 8 in a statement jointly released by Texas Citizens for Science and the National Center for Science Education. The authors, who are scientists and educators, also stated, "It is a disservice to students to mislead them about the important position that evolution holds in biological and other sciences."

New Science Standards Adopted

On August 28 the New Mexico State Board of Education (SBE) voted 13-0 to adopt the final draft of new science standards without any modifications. Opponents of evolution had campaigned for changes in wording which would have implictly cast doubt on the position of evolutionary theory in science and especially on the concept of "macroevolution". The group Intelligent Design Network - New Mexico was prominent among those seeking changes in the treatment of evolution. The SBE did not accept any of their proposals.

Local Group Pushes for ID in Science Classes

A local conservative group in Montgomery County, Texas is mounting a petition drive to mandate the teaching of "intelligent design" in all six school districts in the county. Jim Jenkins, president of the Republican Leadership Council (RLC), said that the group is attempting to convince school boards to supplement evolution with intelligent design, reported the Magnolia Potpourri (2003 Jul 22); available on-line here.

Delaware Leads Evolution Education!

Evolution education in Delaware just keeps getting better. An article in the News Journal hails, "While other states wrestle over whether to even use the word "evolution" in their science standards, Delaware has become one of the nation's leading states in teaching the theory in public schools, state officials and national experts say."

DI again accused of quote-mining

The following appeared in the San Angelo (Texas) Standard-Times on August 13, 2003, and is posted here with the permission of its author.

William Jewell College Upholds Evolution

William Jewell College, a liberal arts college founded in 1849 associated with the Missouri Baptist Convention, is about to lose the MBC’s support due to its position on a variety of issues, including the teaching of creationism.

The MBC’s executive board voted 44–4 to recommend that the MBC discontinue its support of the college -- about $850 000 per year, roughly 3% of the college’s annual budget. The recommendation is expected to be followed at the MBC’s annual meeting in early November.

Another "Design Hypothesis" Bill

On July 17 House Bill 5005 was introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives and referred to the Education Committee. HB 5005 endorses "teaching the design hypothesis as an explanation for the origin and diversity of life."

House Bill 4705, introduced in 2001, contained the same provisions and some of the same sponsors as HB 5005. The 2001-2 Education Committee took no action on HB 4705. The full text of HB 5005 follows:

HOUSE BILL No. 5005

Proposed Legislation Requires "Intelligent Design"

On July 2 House Bill 4946 was introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives and referred to the Education Committee. This bill would amend Michigan's school code to require the state board of education to modify its science standards to include the idea of "intelligent design of a Creator" wherever evolution is mentioned.

HB 4946 was introduced by a member of the Education Committee, Rep. Kenneth Bradstreet, and has 24 co-sponsors, 8 of whom also sit on that 19-member committee. The relevant portion of HB 4946 reads as follows:

Minnesota Official Concerned About Santorum Language

According to a July 8, 2003, broadcast on Minneapolis television channel WCCO, Education Commissioner Cheri Peterson Yecke, who is in charge of choosing committee members to draft Minnesota’s science education standards, is citing the Santorum “amendment” as grounds for including “a higher power creating life alongside evolution”.

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