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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
With the results of the August 3, 2004, primary election, the balance of power on the Kansas Board of Education is likely to tilt in favor of anti-evolutionists, for the first time since 1999, when the board voted to de-emphasize evolution in the state's science standards. The board is presently split 5-5 between supporters and opponents of evolution education.
Senate Bill 168 was not acted upon by the Education Committee before a March 1 deadline, and is therefore officially finished for this year's session of the Kansas Legislature. This result was expected following comments by the Education Committee chair that the bill was already "dead in the water". See February 11 news item on this page.