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At its November 8, 2005, meeting in Topeka, the Kansas state board of education voted 6-4 to adopt the draft set of state science standards that were rewritten, under the tutelage of local "intelligent design" activists, to impugn the scientific status of evolution.
Anticipating the Kansas state board of education's expected decision to adopt a set of science standards in which the scientific status of evolution is systematically deprecated, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Teachers Association have rejected the state department of education's request to use material from the NAS's National Science Education Standards and the NSTA's Pathways to Science Standards in the Kansas Science Education Standards.
The external review of the latest draft of the Kansas science standards is complete, and there's no comfort in it for the antievolutionist majority on the state board of education. The external reviewer, Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL), restricted its comments to the educational usefulness of the standards and did not evaluate their scientific accuracy. Even so, the antievolution material inserted by the board at the behest of local "intelligent design" enthusiasts came under fire.
In the Kansas City Star (October 9, 2005), Jason Gertzen and Diane Stafford report that Kansas's reputation as a state officially hostile to evolution education is having discernible effects on recruitment efforts at universities and in the burgeoning biotechnology industry. "Some business leaders and economic development recruiters in the region say ...
In a letter to faculty, staff, and students at the University of Kansas, the university's chancellor Robert Hemenway reaffirmed that "Evolution is the central unifying principle of modern biology, and it must be taught in our high schools, universities and colleges." "On a personal level," he added, "I see no contradiction in being a person of faith who believes in God and evolution, and I'm sure many others at this university agree." Chancellor Hemenway's letter c
Speaking at the monthly meeting of the Kansas board of education on September 13, John Staver, a professor of science education and the director of the Center for Science Education at Kansas State University, delivered a message from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, of which he is a Fellow.
The reputation of the University of Kansas and of the state in general is in jeopardy due to the expected adoption of a set of deeply flawed science standards, according to the provost of the University of Kansas.
As expected, on August 9, 2005, the Kansas State Board of Education voted 6-4 to send the latest draft of state science standards for external review. The latest draft, based on the so-called minority report composed with the aid of a local "intelligent design" group, the Intelligent Design Network, systematically deprecates the scientific status of evolution.
The committee originally charged with revising Kansas's state science standards has resoundingly denounced the changes imposed by the antievolutionist majority on the state board of education. On August 2, 2005, the committee voted 16-3 to submit a lengthy critique of the board's revisions to the draft standards, which closely followed those proposed by a local "intelligent design" organization.
Following the widely criticized "kangaroo court" hearings on evolution in May 2005, the place of evolution in the Kansas state science standards remains unsettled. The standards have been revised along the lines suggested by local advocates of "intelligent design," and are to be reviewed by the original writing committee in early August. Later in August, the board will consider the standards again in light of the original writing committee's comments, and decide on a final version, which will then undergo external review. A final vote is now expected in September.