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Cobb County Disclaimer Goes to Trial

Cobb County, Georgia, has been the site of controversy over creationism and evolution off and on for decades. On November 8, 2004, a lawsuit began in the most recent chapter of this district's dissatisfaction with the teaching of evolution.

Cobb County Disclaimers Headed for Trial

A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the evolution disclaimer used in Cobb County, Georgia, took a step forward, when a federal judge ruled that the suit could proceed to trial.

The disclaimer, which is affixed inside the books used in Cobb County's public schools, reads, "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."

Georgia Revises Draft Science Standards

On February 19, the Georgia Department of Education released revised versions of proposed new science standards, with major changes in the sections dealing with evolution. When the drafts of the Georgia Performance Standards for Science were first released for public comment in January, the word "evolution," as well as most of the significant concepts related to this topic, were not included in them.

Georgia Regresses: Drops E-Word


Georgia is in the process of revising its 1997 “Quality Control Curriculum” (QCC) science education standards. The previous standards received a grade of F on Dr. Lawrence Lerner’s 2000 evaluation of science education standards produced for the Fordham Foundation. The earlier standards used the word “evolution,” but according to Lerner, “not in a way that encourages clarification of its role in the life sciences.”

Internet "Poll" on Teaching Evolution

A Georgia newspaper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has published the results of its December 2002 "Voice of Atlanta" internet survey regarding evolution education. The results cannot be considered either accurate or precise, since they are not based on a random sample of the population. In addition, the single question asked was somewhat ambiguous:

Do you agree or disagree: The theory of evolution should be taught in public schools to the exclusion of all other theories, such as creationism or "intelligent design."

Cobb County Clarifies: Teach Only Science in Science Classes

On January 8, 2003, the Cobb County, Georgia, School District issued guidelines that clarify the new “Theories of Origins” policy.

Creationism Not to Appear in Cobb County Public Schools

Contrary to some recent press reports, the "Theories of Origin" policy adopted by the Cobb County, Georgia, Board of Education on September 26, 2002, specifically disallows the teaching of creationism. As enacted, the policy explicitly states that, “It is the intent of the Cobb County Board of Education that this policy not be interpreted to restrict the teaching of evolution; to promote or require the teaching of creationism; or to discriminate for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, religion in general, or non-religion.”

School Board to Revise Policy on "Theories of Origin"

The Board of the Cobb County School District, near Atlanta, decided on August 22 to consider changes in a policy related to science and evolution education. Early this year the same district adopted an evolution textbook disclaimer. Now the seven member board has voted unanimously to study a proposed new policy for 30 days. A final vote will probably be taken at their September 26 meeting.

The district’s current policy entitled "Theories of Origin" dates from 1995. It reads as follows:

Georgia Bill Fails to Progress

On February 26, 2002 House Bill 1563 was introduced in the Georgia House of Representatives and referred to the Education Committee. No action has been taken on this bill to date, and April 12 is expected to be the last day of the current legislative session.

The wording of HB 1563 resembles the "Santorum amendment" to last year's federal education bill, which was removed in conference committee. The phrasing matches the common rhetoric of such evolution opponents as intelligent design creationists. The relevant portion HB 1563 reads:

Cobb County, Georgia to Insert Disclaimers into Biology Textbooks

Presented with petition of over 2300 signatures at last Thursday's Cobb County Board of Education meeting, officials decided to draft a "clarifying statement" describing evolution as "just one of several theories" explaining the diversity of life one earth. The statement is to be inserted into newly adopted science textbooks.

Over the objection of the standing room only crowd, the board voted unanimously to adopt the science textbooks, included in a $7.7 million package that also includes books for health and physical education.

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