Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

New school standards will keep focus on evolution

Posted by on Jun. 13, 2010 at 2:09 PM
  • 17 Replies

New school standards will keep focus on evolution

By Joe Dejka
Published: Sunday, June 13, 2010 4:10 AM CDT
World-Herald News Service

OMAHA - Charles Darwin's theory of evolution would continue as a cornerstone of science classes in Nebraska's public schools if proposed new state science standards are adopted this summer by the Nebraska Board of Education.

Intelligent design, meantime, would remain the province of philosophers and theologians.

Although advocates of intelligent design enjoyed fleeting success the past decade in Kansas, they have not found Nebraska science classrooms so welcoming.

Three members of the Nebraska Board of Education say they're not aware of any effort by board members or the public to include intelligent design in Nebraska's new science standards.

"I've had zero contact from anyone," said board member Robert Evnen of Lincoln, who is on a committee reviewing the standards.
The standards would be adopted by the state board in August. Standards identify what students should know and what teachers should teach.

Nebraska's 253 school districts would have to adopt the state standards, or more rigorous ones, or risk losing accreditation.

The standards take on added importance this year because education officials will use them to design for the first time a statewide science test. That test will be piloted at some schools next spring and implemented at all public schools in 2012.

Intelligent design proposes that the world's incredible diversity can only be explained as the work of a supreme being. Evolution attributes the world's diversity to organisms inheriting different traits over time that make them more or less fit to survive.


Nebraska's proposed standards would continue to refer to evolution as theory. California's standards, among the nation's most detailed, do not qualify evolution as a theory. Oklahoma's standards, on the other hand, make no mention of either intelligent design or evolution, but children are taught "biological change over time."

Jim Woodland, director of science education for the Nebraska Department of Education, said state officials chose to continue to refer to evolution as a theory rather than "stir the hornet's nest."

In common usage, the word theory has come to mean "a hunch," suggesting a conclusion reached based on incomplete evidence. However, the American Association for the Advancement of Science defines a scientific theory as "a well-substantiated explanation . . . based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed." Gravity, for example, is often referred to as a theory.

In Iowa, evolution also is included in state standards.

The Iowa Core, adopted by Iowa lawmakers in 2008, requires high school students to "understand and apply knowledge of biological evolution."

Iowa high schools must adopt the Iowa Core by 2012; elementary schools by 2014.

Under Nebraska's proposed standards, high school students would be asked to "describe the theory of biological evolution" and recognize how it explains such things as genetic variations in offspring and the diversity of life over time. Except for slight wording changes, that's the same requirement as the 1998 standards they would replace.

"We're treating evolution the way that we have it now," Woodland said. "We expect the students to develop an understanding of biological evolution. There's no reference to intelligent design at all."

The proposed standards do not specifically address another controversial topic, global warming, but they do ask students to examine the impact of human activity on the Earth's resources.

"We're not getting into what you have to believe, one side or the other,," Woodland said. "We're giving you the tools and the content so you can make up your own mind about what's going on."

Dan Sitzman, a curriculum specialist at Omaha North Magnet High School who helped develop the standards, said science teachers debated how to address global warming and after a long discussion decided to "leave that door open" for science teachers to address it as they see fit.

In 2005, scientists criticized Kansas after a narrowly split State Board of Education revised the state's science standards to include intelligent design. Two years later, a newly elected Kansas board removed any reference to intelligent design, where the standards are today.

In 2002, the Nebraska board rejected a push to include intelligent design in state standards. Then, in 2006, three candidates for the board who favored including intelligent design or creationism in the standards were defeated - though after respectable showings at the polls.

Woodland said a Nebraska school district would risk a lawsuit if it chose to teach intelligent design. He noted a 2005 federal court ruling that found a Dover, Pa., school board violated the U.S. Constitution when it approved teaching intelligent design alongside evolution.

Creighton University biology professor Chuck Austerberry reviewed Nebraska's draft standards and found them "appropriately neutral" on philosophical and theological matters.

Austerberry belongs to the Nebraska Religious Coalition for Science Education, a loose coalition that believes religion and science are compatible but opposes teaching intelligent design in science classes.

Austerberry said he was "appalled" when Kansas included intelligent design in its standards.

"We just want them to learn the science," Austerberry said. "And also to learn it in a neutral, respectful environment that would give the students the confidence to know that they should feel free to develop their worldview based on input from all kinds of sources at home and at church."

Although Kansas' standards no longer refer to intelligent design, an introduction to the standards includes a reminder to teachers not to "ridicule, belittle or embarrass a student for expressing an alternative view or belief."

The National Science Teachers Association opposes mandating the teaching of intelligent design. The association endorses teaching evolution, viewing it "as a major unifying concept."



 
by on Jun. 13, 2010 at 2:09 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
Lindseyfam5
by Bronze Member on Jun. 13, 2010 at 2:15 PM

I think both theories should be discussed, but no one theory should be introduced as fact. 

SamanthaAgain
by Sam on Jun. 13, 2010 at 2:19 PM

Good.  Evolution is the scientific explanation of how the world became what it is today, and it should be taught in science classrooms.  If parents want their children to learn the religious explanation, there are a multitude of ways to teach it inside and outside of the home.

Follow me to learn about Cloth Diapering and why I choose to give my son choice.Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Second Birthday tickers


SamanthaAgain
by Sam on Jun. 13, 2010 at 2:19 PM

Why should a science class teach religious dogma?

Quoting Lindseyfam5:

I think both theories should be discussed, but no one theory should be introduced as fact. 


Follow me to learn about Cloth Diapering and why I choose to give my son choice.Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Second Birthday tickers


LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Jun. 13, 2010 at 2:25 PM

Thank God!

Lindseyfam5
by Bronze Member on Jun. 13, 2010 at 2:30 PM


Quoting SamanthaAgain:

Why should a science class teach religious dogma?

Quoting Lindseyfam5:

I think both theories should be discussed, but no one theory should be introduced as fact. 

 

Nope, but for a child to be thoroughly educated, both theories should be introdcued. 

The theory of "intellegent design" simply proposes that the world's incredible diversity can only be explained as the work of a supreme being. -- Which doesn't point to any religion or religious preference.  Shouldn't we allow the child to have both throries presented so that the child can make an informed decision?? 

SamanthaAgain
by Sam on Jun. 13, 2010 at 2:34 PM


Quoting Lindseyfam5:


Quoting SamanthaAgain:

Why should a science class teach religious dogma?

Quoting Lindseyfam5:

I think both theories should be discussed, but no one theory should be introduced as fact. 


Nope, but for a child to be thoroughly educated, both theories should be introdcued. 

The theory of "intellegent design" simply proposes that the world's incredible diversity can only be explained as the work of a supreme being. -- Which doesn't point to any religion or religious preference.  Shouldn't we allow the child to have both throries presented so that the child can make an informed decision?? 

Teaching a child that a supreme being created the earth is religious education.  It it not a scientific theory, therefore it should not be taught in a science classroom.  Do you only allow your children to learn what they are taught in school?  Why would keeping religion out of a science classroom prevent a child from learning intelligent design?

Follow me to learn about Cloth Diapering and why I choose to give my son choice.Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Second Birthday tickers


Lindseyfam5
by Bronze Member on Jun. 13, 2010 at 2:35 PM

Take for example, a family that dismisses "intellegent design".  This child may not have an opportunity to learn about the possibility of a creator, if the theory isn't introduced in school.  And, remember both are only being introduced as THEORIES, NOT AS FACT.

 

Mandipants
by on Jun. 13, 2010 at 2:38 PM


Quoting Lindseyfam5:

I think both theories should be discussed, but no one theory should be introduced as fact. 

Both theories? I'm assuming you are speaking of Evolution which is credible, well established, empirical science with hard data and lots of it as backing and creationism which is faith.

Religious doctrine is not science. Never will be--shouldn't try to be. That's just diminishing it as faith when you try to 'prove' it or push it as science.

Creationism has no place in science curriculum.

LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Jun. 13, 2010 at 2:39 PM


Quoting Lindseyfam5:

Take for example, a family that dismisses "intellegent design".  This child may not have an opportunity to learn about the possibility of a creator, if the theory isn't introduced in school.  And, remember both are only being introduced as THEORIES, NOT AS FACT.

 

Those who feel that intelligent design needs to be introduced to their children will introduce it to their children.  As it is not scientific theory, there is no place for it in a science classroom.

Lindseyfam5
by Bronze Member on Jun. 13, 2010 at 2:39 PM


Quoting SamanthaAgain:

 

Quoting Lindseyfam5:

 

Quoting SamanthaAgain:

Why should a science class teach religious dogma?

Quoting Lindseyfam5:

I think both theories should be discussed, but no one theory should be introduced as fact. 

 

Nope, but for a child to be thoroughly educated, both theories should be introdcued. 

The theory of "intellegent design" simply proposes that the world's incredible diversity can only be explained as the work of a supreme being. -- Which doesn't point to any religion or religious preference.  Shouldn't we allow the child to have both throries presented so that the child can make an informed decision?? 

Teaching a child that a supreme being created the earth is religious education.  It it not a scientific theory, therefore it should not be taught in a science classroom.  Do you only allow your children to learn what they are taught in school?  Why would keeping religion out of a science classroom prevent a child from learning intelligent design?

It is NOT religion.  Religion is the belief in and worship of God(s)....teaching "intellegent design" along side of "evolution" - DOES NOT suggest you need to worship and pray to the higher being.  It DOES NOT instill any kind of fear or discuss any kind of afterlife.   

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)