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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.
The Kansas Board of Education hearings on proposed revisions to the state science standards, which were widely condemned as a kangaroo court or show trial, commenced on May 5, 2005 in Topeka, Kansas.
Four organizations dedicated to quality education have joined in a coalition in response to recent attacks on quality science education in Kansas.
The Kansas Academy of Science, Kansas Citizens For Science, Kansas Families United for Public Education, and The MAINstream Coalition have united to issue the attached Position Paper on the State Science Standards in support of the work of the state science standards committee and in opposition to the upcoming "science hearings" to be held by three conservative members of the Kansas Board of Education.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science -- the world's largest general science organization and the publisher of the journal Science -- announced on April 12, 2005, that it declined to participate in the scheduled six days of hearings in Kansas on the place of evolution in the state science standards, hearings that have been widely described as a "kangaroo court" on evolution. AAAS CEO Alan I.
Discontented with the scientifically accurate treatment of evolution in the draft revision of the state science standards, the antievolutionist majority on the Kansas Board of Education is continuing to try to concoct a justification for overruling the consensus of the writing committee.
In the wake of the November 2004 elections in Kansas, antievolutionists gained the majority of seats on the state board of education, and they are now using their 6-4 majority to try to undermine the treatment of evolution in the state science standards, which are undergoing revision. A first draft of the revised standards was submitted to the board in December 2004, and approved, despite complaints that the opinions of antievolutionists were ignored. Efforts to incorporate a "minority report" written with the aid of a local "intelligent design" organization were unsuccessful.
According to the Lawrence Journal-World, an antievolution resolution was introduced in the Kansas House of Representatives on February 15, 2005. The sponsor is Representative Mary Pilcher-Cook (R-Shawnee), who said that the proposed resolution, which is nonbinding, was meant to promote "objectivity in science education."
As predicted, the balance of power on the Kansas Board of Education [Link is broken] tilted in favor of anti-evolutionists after the November 2, 2004, election. When Kathy Martin replaces Bruce Wyatt on the District 6 seat on the board, the anti-evolution faction will have a 6-4 majority.
by Nick Matzke