Thursday, May 12, 2005


Case: Hearings Dishonorable and Without Integrity

As chair of the Kansas Science Curriculum Standards Committee, Steve Case, of the Center for Science Education and the Center for Research on Learning has put up with a lot from the members of the board of education. Apparently, he's finally had enough. Today, Pedro Irirgonegaray read this letter from Case -- responding the board chair Steve Abrams' op-ed in the Wichita Eagle -- into the hearing record.

I feel that I have to respond to Dr. Abram's letter in the WichitaEagle.

Dr Abrams ends his letter with a quote from Thomas Cooper;"only fraud and falsehood dreadexamination. Truth invites it." I would suggest that he be careful what he wishes for.

Throughout the Standards process, the expert panel appointed by the State Board has worked very hard to follow the process by which curriculum standards are developed. It is by this kind of adherence to a well structured process and by following the rules, that documents of this nature establish creditability. Through this process, a two thirds majority of the committee has produced an excellent document. At all times we have maintained a high degree of respect for all of the people involved in standards process and at all times made absolutely certain that all voices were heard.

Honestly, during this process it has been difficult to remain respectful when being denigrated as a scientist and portrayed as a poor teacher. I have been looked in the eye and lied to on several occasions during this process.

A good example comes from the second paragraph of Dr.Abrams letter in which he says, "At no time have I stated or implied that I wanted to insert creation science or intelligent design into the science curriculum standards."

Dr. Abrams must think that we have forgotten Trial Draft 4A of the science standards that he introduced in 1999. At the time he told us that he was the author of this trial draft of the standards. It was only through a bit of detective work that we found that this was not true. The draft hadbeen written by a young earth creationist group from Cleveland, Missouri.

These were the creationist standards that were adopted by the board in1999. Dr.Abrams was, at the very least, a driving force in the insertion of creation science into our state standards at that time.

It is also difficult to remain respectful when I read Dr. Abrams' statement in which he says, "In addition, I have stated that I want to remove the dogmatic fashion with which neo-Darwinian evolution is taught."

Dr. Abramsknows that there is a great deal of difference between science content standards and curriculum/instruction. Standards create a broad vision of what it means to be scientifically literate. They serve only as a foundation for local school districts to create their curriculum and instruction.

It seems as if Dr. Abrams is promoting State control for what has been a local function; the curriculum and instruction occurring in local classrooms. However, I cannot let the assertion that the outstanding science teachers of Kansas are teaching in a dogmatic fashion stand unchallenged.

It is offensive to the teacher of Kansas and absolutely untrue.

I have been in hundreds of classrooms across the State, very active in state wide teacher organizations and very active in science teacher professional development. If such behavior is occurring in a classroom then that teacher would be guilty of unprofessional conduct. I have never observed such behavior in any of the classrooms in Kansas. I have found the teachers of Kansas to be very sensitive and caring about their student welfare.

The Statement of Tolerance found in theScience Standards articulately expresses this caring and the high standard of practice in the state. Dr. Abrams letter is filled with such misleading statements. He continues to insist that dramatically changing the procedures by which the Science Standards are developed is a noble thing and that these hearing and witnesses have credibility.

This is also untrue.

The witnesses do not have any standing in the field and no credibility.The statements have arrogant opinions about subjects in which they have no knowledge. The subcommittee hearings in Topeka are dishonorable and without integrity. Reputable scientists and science educators should be applauded for not participating in such an event.


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