"Why can't science teachers simply teach science?"


"Why can't science teachers simply teach science?" was the reaction of a columnist for the Charleston, South Carolina, Post and Courier (October 13, 2013), in the wake of the state board of education's discussion of the revised state science standards at its October 9, 2013, meeting. As NCSE previously reported, the board gave its initial approval to the standards, which are a revision of the standards adopted in 2005, which the Fordham Institute graded as A- in its 2012 evaluation of state science standards. But several members of the board expressed concern about the treatment of evolution and climate change. Michael Brenan enquired whether the concept of "irreducible complexity" was included in the standards, for example, and Danny Varat suggested that a standard about climate change was "leading toward a predetermined conclusion."

Robert Dillon, a professor of biology at the College of Charleston and the founding president of South Carolinians for Science Education, attended the board meeting and told the board that the new standards are excellent as drafted and should be approved. Responding to the comments from those opposed to the standards and from the members of the board who expressed concern about evolution and climate change, Dillon told the Post and Courier's Melanie Balog, "Here is my one and only point. I want science in the science standards. I don't want any politics, I don't want any religion. I just want science." According to Balog, he "predicts more infighting between the Board of Ed and the Education Oversight Committee, a separate 18-member review panel that can suggest wording changes and other revisions to the standards before the state board gives final approval next year."