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The antievolution bills — the so-called Academic Freedom Acts — in Florida are progressing, despite protests from teachers, scientists, and the Florida ACLU, and despite the criticisms of the legislature's own staff.
The antievolution bills recently introduced in the Florida legislature continue to elicit opposition. The bills closely resemble a string of similar bills in Alabama – HB 391 and SB 336 in 2004; HB 352, SB 240, and HB 716 in 2005; HB 106 and SB 45 in 2006 – as well as a model bill that the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, the institutional home of "intelligent design" creationism, recently began to promote.
The Florida state board of education's vote to adopt a new set of science standards on February 19, 2008, is continuing to attract comment, due largely to the board's decision to adopt, not the final draft of the standards as submitted by the writing committee, but a revised version in which the phrase "the scientific theory of" was inserted before mentions of plate tectonics, cell theory, atomic theory, electromagnetism, the Big Bang – and evolution.
The Florida state board of education voted 4-3 at its February 19, 2008, meeting to adopt a new set of state science standards in which evolution is presented as a "fundamental concept underlying all of biology." The adopted standards differ from those developed by the writing committee in adding the phrase "the scientific theory of" before mentions of plate tectonics, cell theory, atomic theory, electromagnetism, and evolution. According to the standards, "a scientific theory represents the most powerful explanation scientists have to offer."
As the Florida state board of education prepared to consider a final draft of a new set of state science standards, Floridians offered their opinions at a last-minute meeting held in Orlando on February 11, 2008. Over eighty speakers addressed the state commissioner of education, Eric Smith, and, via webcast, the board. A video of the entire meeting is available on the department's website.
At least nine county school boards in northern Florida have adopted resolutions calling for the state board of education "to revise the new Sunshine State Standards for Science such that evolution is not presented as fact, but as one of several theories," according to a January 23, 2008, report from Florida Citizens for Science. These resolutions represent a backlash to a draft set of new state science standards, which are presently undergoing revision in response to comments from the public.
As Florida continues to consider the draft of a new set of state science standards, there are reports about mounting creationist lobbying against the inclusion of evolution and for the inclusion of creationism.
Prof. who flunked Florida science standards says new ones are shooting for an A
Expert gave current statewide standards an F but new draft is "a dramatic improvement."