Ohio's antievolution lesson plan removed


According to early reports [Link broken], the Ohio Board of Education voted 11-4 at its February 14, 2006, meeting to remove both the "Critical Analysis of Evolution" model lesson plan and the corresponding indicator in the state standards. The board's vote follows in the wake of a motion to remove the lesson plan during the board's January meeting, which failed 9-8. Following that vote, Governor Taft issued a thinly veiled rebuke to the board, and a large majority of the Science Content Standards Advisory Committee described the lesson plan as "a pointed attempt to insert old and discredited creationist content in Ohio's science classrooms."

"This is a stunning triumph for the students of Ohio's public schools," commented NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott, "and a stunning repudiation of the all-too-successful attempts of creationists to undermine evolution education in the Buckeye State. Let's hope that all such attempts to introduce creationism by the back door meet the same fate." But the Associated Press reported (February 14, 2006) that "three board members who voted in January to keep the plan in place were absent Tuesday, and supporters of the science material pledged to force a new vote to return the material soon." NCSE will provide further details as they become available.

Since its introduction in 2004, the "critical analysis" language was copied elsewhere, including Arizona, Kansas, and, recently, South Carolina [Link broken], where language similar to Ohio's indicator 23 was incorporated in a draft of the state science standards. Not content with that compromise of the treatment of education, the Education Oversight Committee -- which includes state senator Michael Fair, the sponsor of several antievolution bills in the past -- is attempting to expand the "critical analysis" language. The state board of education will consider the committee's latest proposal on March 8, 2006, three weeks after the Ohio board's historic vote.