Update from Arizona

09.24.2018

"Parents and teachers on Monday [September 24, 2018] rallied outside an Arizona Board of Education meeting, and then took turns during the meeting blasting a proposal to remove references to evolution and climate change from state science standards," reported the Arizona Republic (September 24, 2018).

The criticisms of the draft standards were prefigured by a letter (PDF) from the American Institute of Biological Sciences, a statement from leading Arizona scientists published in the Arizona Republic (September 24, 2018), and a petition from the Sierra Club's Climate Parents, signed by hundreds of Arizona parents.

Interviewed by the Arizona Republic (September 22, 2018), NCSE's Glenn Branch emphasized the significance of the deletion of a middle-school standard addressing speciation: "What [creationists] don't like is [explanations of] the origin of a new species, because it implies that human beings share a common ancestry with other living things."

At the meeting, the Arizona Science Teachers Association requested a set of specific changes to the draft standards to rectify their faulty treatment of evolution and climate change. Sara Torres, ASTA's executive director, asked the board not to put science teachers "in the position of teaching non-scientific teaching," the Arizona Republic reported.

Meanwhile, as KNAU (September 21, 2018) previously reported, Superintendent Diane Douglas was putting her weight behind a charter school scope-and-sequence document developed by Hillsdale College rather than the standards developed by her department. The proposal "drew another round of outrage" at the rally, according to the Arizona Republic.

As expected, the board of education took no action with regard to either the draft standards or the scope-and-sequence document at the meeting. Video of the meeting is available on-line. The board is currently expected to vote on the draft standards — or a revised version — at its October 22, 2018, meeting.