"A child's learning is the funtion more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, January 11, 2008

U. S. Secretary of Education Has No Position on Evolution in Science Standards

For all the rhetoric about world-class standards and maintaining scientific supremacy in the world, the underlying theocratic stranglehold of and on this Administration makes the current situation in Florida even more striking to observers who shake their heads at the Reign of the Texas Hillbillies. From the Miami Herald:
TALLAHASSEE -- U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, who is visiting states to tout the benefits of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, stayed as far away as she could from the unfolding controversy in Florida over whether the word ''evolution'' should be included in the state's science standards for schools. The State Board of Education is expected to vote on the new weather science standards next month.

Spellings said it isn't her job to make policy decisions and said it was up to people such as new Florida Education Commissioner Eric Smith. When asked whether the nation's top education official has a position on whether evolution should be a part of science standards, Spellings replied: ``No, I don't.'' . . .
And there's this from Daily Kos:
by DarkSyde
Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 04:26:20 AM PST

From the Florida Citizens for Science (FCS), Taylor County passes a resolution:

[W]e are requesting that the State Board of Education direct the Florida Department of Education to revise/edit the new Sunshine State Standards for Science so that evolution is presented as one of several theories as to how the universe was formed.

One of several theories as to how the universe was formed? Good grief, could they be any more blatant in their scientific ignorance? Evolutionary biology examines how living things change over time, regardless of how the universe (Or the earth) ‘formed.’ Evo is about as relevant to the origin of the universe as geology.

Early indications are that many more counties in the Sunshine State have passed or are considering almost identical resolutions. The inference is that someone is shopping around an anti-science template to perhaps well meaning but nevertheless gullible school board members. Friendly warning: with the help of science champions across the progressive blogosphere and in every local community, FCS is going to find out who's behind this misinformation campaign and drag them into the light of public scrutiny.

In the meantime, if physical reality is something we could change merely by voting on it, why not vote big? How about "Resolved: Cancer is no longer a deadly disease and is instead less serious than a hangnail" or "We the undersigned hereby decree all people can travel faster than light anytime they want to"? If you can answer that question for cancer or relativity, you've answered it for evolutionary biology as well.

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