Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Right-wing Board Candidates Running for Re-election of the Taxpayers Dime
As he handed them out, Abrams said, "As you will see most of the discussion is quotes from the science standards themselves. There is not a lot of editorial comment."
But there is significant editorial comment. On the first page, the pamphlet misleadingly presents the Board's Rationale statement from the standards. The pamphlet
- breaks the rationale statement into two parts, entitling the second part "2. Do the standards include Intelligent Design?"
- adds the subtitle "The following statements are found in the science standards," making it look like the following part about Intelligent Design has a different status than the first part, and then
- bolds the statement "We [the Kansas Board of Education] also emphasize that the Science Curriculum Standards do not include Intelligent Design."
But the Rationale statement taken as a whole does say that students should learn about Intelligent Design and that information about Intelligent Design should be in the standards. The Board, by highlighting this one sentence and separating it from the rest of the Rationale statement deceptively misleads the public about the inclusion of Intelligent Design in the standards.
Kansas Citizens for science strongly objects to the KBOE's expenditure of time and money to print this pamphlet. Considering the timing, the content, and particularly the editorializing about Intelligent Design, this pamphlet inappropriately aligns the KBOE with the Discovery Institute and IDnet's disinformation campaign about the intent and effect of the science standards.
"The new board information contains significant misstatements about the material in the Kansas Science Education Standards," says Dr. Steve Case, chair of the standards writing committee.
"This is clearly an effort to mislead the public, yet again. Last May, the State Board of Education Chairman Dr. Steve Abrams claimed that a primary purpose of the three days of "Scientific Hearings" was for "public education" about the Kansas Science Education Standards. The Board spent $30,000 of taxpayer money on these hearings in an outrageous display of pseudoscience and misinformation. The public has seen through the phony information of the hearings so the State Board of Education is producing more marketing material at taxpayer expense. This is wrong."
It is inappropriate for the state Board to get involved in editorializing about this issue, spending money to produce these pamphlets that will likely be used by the Discovery Institute, the Intelligent Design network, and incumbent Board members to justify their claim that the standards don't include ID.
We are concerned that these pamphlets, being paid for with tax-payer funds, will be used inappropriately as a campaign tool. As Board member Connie Morris said at the Board meeting, "When it comes from the Department of Education it validates the truthfulness of it." For the Board to be editorializing about their interpretation of the standards and providing people with ready-made campaign materials at no cost seems quite wrong.
KCFS protests these pamphlets. At the very least, the Rationale statement should be printed exactly as it is written in the standards: let the reader decide for him or herself what the Rationale statement says rather than than leading the reader to the conclusion the Board wants the reader to reach.