Saturday, June 11, 2005


Cobb County Ruling and Kansas Science Standards

Here is the addition to the science standards made by Steve Abrams and appoved by the sub-committee on June 9 that mirrors language from the Cobb County stickers. The antievolution stickers were ordered affixed to biology textbooks there by the school board. A federal judge has ruled they must be removed:

Evolution is accepted by many scientists but questioned by some. The Board has heard credible scientific testimony that indeed there are significant debates about the evidence for key aspects of chemical and biological evolutionary theory.
All scientific theories should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.

By writing that "All scientific theories should be... " the board is trying to get around the federal court ruling in the Cobb County case which declared the stickers unconstitutional because they singled out evolution.

But, that may not be enough to get the Kansas Science standards past a judge. Here's a section of the ruling by U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper:
"Due to the manner in which the sticker refers to evolution as a theory, the sticker also has the effect of undermining evolution education to the benefit of those Cobb County citizens who would prefer that students maintain their religious beliefs regarding the origin of life."

There can be no doubt that the standards as now proposed by the sub-committee have the effect of undermining evolution education in the state of Kansas. Despite the rhetorical tip of the hat to "all scientific theories" the proposed standards clearly single out evolution. Likewise, there can be no doubt at all about the religious motivation of the board.

The science standards, after all the hoopla of the hearings, constitute a clear violation of the constitutionally mandated separation between church and state.

For those who want to read the proposed standards -- and see the revisions made by the board -- the Kansas Department of Education has put the working document online in pdf format.


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