Thursday, November 10, 2005


Illiniois Evolving?

Jeremy Manier of the Chicago Tribune reports that while science standards in Illinois never contained overt criticism of evolution such as those now found in Kansas, the Illinois standards avoided all mention of evolution from 1997 to 2002--replacing it with the phrase "change over time."

"Even though the new Kansas curriculum contains extensive criticism of evolution," writes Manier, "it also calls for students to understand that 'biological evolution is used as a broad, unifying framework for biology.'"

The old avoidance of evolution remains in the language of the Illinois "assessment framework," which defines topics to be covered by state tests. For example, the framework mandates that students understand "that new species of organisms changed over time out of older ones"--an unusual phrasing that experts said is meant to avoid using the word "evolution."

"They're treating it as if it were a dirty word," said Glenn Branch, deputy director of the Oakland-based National Center for Science Education. "That's silly, and it's also misleading. There's no reason not to use the word that scientists use, which is evolution."


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