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State Science Standards Approved by Legislature

Pennsylvania's proposed new science education standards have been approved by both the House and Senate Education Committees. This final revision does not contain the potentially anti-evolution language originally contained in the draft standards. NCSE members and others opposed to opening the door for teaching of creationism in public schools have worked for more than a year to remove this ambiguity from the standards.

Board Challenged on Teacher Reprimand

On August 13, 2001 the Lafayette School Corporation board was asked by a Jefferson High School chemistry teacher to remove a formal reprimand placed in his personnel file by the district's superintendent last September. The reprimand accused the teacher "of teaching religion through creationism in a classroom setting" according to a Lafayette Journal and Courier account.

Board Members Oppose Evolution in Textbook

On July 30, 2001 the North Branch school district board voted 4-3 to adopt an environmental science textbook which had been opposed by two board members because it doesn't mention creationism as an explanation of life and it doesn't refer to evolution as only a "theory". Review and debate about evolution began in June when the board's decision on possible texts was delayed because of objections to evolution. If the board hadn't chosen a book at their last meeting, the school year would have begun without an approved text.

State Board Considers, and Rejects, Creationism

On August 2 the Board of Education voted unanimously to retain the original language in Hawaii's science standards related to evolution. The Board had received several hundred messages on the subject, and heard from dozens of speakers supporting evolution education at the meeting.

State Board Approves Revised Science Standards

On July 12, 2001 the Pennsylvania Board of Education gave final approval to revised science standards. Some language in preliminary versions of the standards had raised questions about their treatment of evolution. Science educators and other Pennsylvania citizens expressed concern that the proposed standards might open the way to teaching creationism in science classes because of ambiguous or unclear wording. However, the final standards do not contain these potential problems. The standards now must be approved by the legislature.

School District Asked to Teach Creationism

In early August, 2001 a committee of eight teachers and a high school principal in Chetek, Wisconsin decided that "biology lessons would be limited to the theory of evolution". The committee met this summer "to discuss teaching creationism and review the curriculum in the science class." The district superintendent formed the committee in response to a petition filed by parents in May asking that creationism and evolution both be taught in science courses.

Indiana House Bill 1323

House Bill 1323 was introduced in the General Assembly in January and referred to the Education Committee. The text of the bill reads: "Sec. 18. The governing body of a school corporation may require the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science, within the school corporation." HB 1323 was not heard in committee before the General Assembly adjourned for the year. It is now listed on their website as "no longer under consideration".

School Board Members Oppose Science Textbooks

Two members of the Spring-Ford Area School District Board of School Directors opposed several new science textbooks considered at their May meeting. One member was quoted in news reports as feeling that the books "approach to teaching evolution was too limiting", and that students should be exposed to other theories besides evolution, such as creationism. The board voted 6-2 to acquire the texts which were recommended by the district's science selection committee.

School Board Rejects, Then Accepts, Science Textbooks

In April the Brodhead School District board voted not to adopt two sets of elementary and middle school science books which had been recommended by district staff after a year of review. According to press reports, some board members "expressed concern on how evolution was presented in the books, more as fact than theory".

At its May meeting, the board decided to accept the textbooks, after having had a chance to review them in the meantime. No further comments about evolution were reported.

Board Members Support "Creation Science"

At the June 13 Plymouth Public Schools board meeting in Plymouth, Connecticut two members recommended giving "equal time" to creation science or other alternatives to evolution in biology classes. The chairman of the curriculum subcommittee of the school board was quoted in news reports as being upset that current biology classes in the district "are based solely on the theory of evolution." While no changes were made in the curriculum, both members called for "teaching both sides of the story" in the future.

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