When I was in middle school, I was way into model rocketry. My best friend and I would build these elaborate rocket kits, then (having researched the pertinent ordinances) launch them from approved areas of public parks. We even started up a 4-H club on model rocketry, though it never really took off (as it were).

One day, we were walking through our New Jersey suburb on our way to a park to do a launch, rockets and wires and so forth poking out of our backpacks. A police car rolled up next to us, and the officer asked what we were up to. I don’t recall whether we flashed our hand-made rocket club membership cards, but we explained what we planned to do, and what we had researched about how to do a safe and legal launch. He let us go with a wave.

Had we done the same today, the result would likely be different.

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Karen James, with Charles Darwin.On May 22, Maine governor Paul LePage vetoed a bill which would have implemented the Next Generation Science Standards in Maine.

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Downtown Columbus, Ohio. Photograph by  Derek Jensen (Tysto), via Wikimedia Commons.

A few times while reading about the history of the creationism/evolution controversy, I’ve noticed references to a policy adopted by the Columbus, Ohio, board of education in 1971 that provided for the teaching of creationism along with evolution. But there are rarely any details. In The Evolution Controversy in America (1994), for example, George E. Webb writes, “The board of education in Columbus, Ohio, passed a resolution in 1971 encouraging teachers to present special creation along with evolution,” and that’s all. As someone who was enrolled in Columbus, Ohio, public schools from kindergarten to high school, I find that irritating. As fate would have it, however, a copy of the resolution surfaced in NCSE’s archives recently, and a kindly colleague placed it on my desk.

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We asked applicants for the NCSE Grand Canyon Teacher Scholarship to explain, in 500 words, how they’ve addressed challenges to the teaching of evolution, climate change, and related issues. Here is part of scholarship winner Alyson Miller’s explanation of her fight to keep evolution in classrooms in her Nashua, New Hampshire, high school.

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We asked applicants for the NCSE Grand Canyon Teacher Scholarship to explain, in 500 words, how they’ve addressed challenges to the teaching of evolution, climate change, and related issues. Here is part of scholarship winner Scott Hatfield’s explanation of his strategies for overcoming resistance to evolution in his Fresno, California, high school.

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While discussion of Israeli elections has largely (and reasonably) focused on the different parties’ views on the occupation of Palestine and the prospect of war with Iran, the ongoing effort to craft a coalition government may carry risks for science education, too.

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Montana State Seal, via Wikimedia Commons

Jack Kirkley is a member of NCSE and a biology professor at the University of Montana Western. He testified at the Montana House Education Committee hearing on House Bill 321—which, according to the Billings Gazette (January 29, 2015), "would encourage high school teachers to present evolutionary biology as disputed theory rather than sound science and protect those who teach viewpoints like creationism in the classroom"—on February 6, 2015. The committee subsequently tabled the bill. The following is a lightly edited version of his testimony, published here with his kind permission.

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Herman Mays is a member of NCSE and a biology professor at Marshall University. He testified at the West Virginia Board of Education meeting last week, speaking against climate change-denying revisions to the state’s science standards. Thanks to outcry from concerned scientists and parents like Mays, the board voted to remove the climate change denial. We asked him to describe what happened at the hearing, and what motivated him to speak out. A longer account of his visit with the state board will appear in a future issue of Reports of the NCSE.

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On Friday, I was happy to report that climate change denial was removed from the social studies textbook Pearson proposed to sell in Texas. And I was sad to say that McGraw-Hill hadn’t gone far enough in addressing climate change denial in their Texas geography textbook. I’m pleased to be able to update that report and say that both publishers have now agreed to correct their coverage of climate change.

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