Conservatives on the Kansas Board of Education agreed today to solicit opinions from experts on how evolution should be taught in science classrooms.
The board voted 6–4 to establish a subcommittee that will conduct hearings to “investigate the merits of two opposing views” offered by a 26-member committee that is charged with revising the standards. The two Democrats and two moderate Republicans on the board voted against the proposal.
The three-member subcommittee is made up of all conservatives. No one from the other side would agree to be on it, said John Calvert, who is serving as an attorney for eight members of the science standards committee who split from the full committee. The eight support changes that fall in line with intelligent design, the theory that some aspects of the universe are best explained by intelligent causes.
The science-writing committee is holding public hearings this month on a draft of the standards. The draft, however, does not include the views of the eight.
The state board also voted to pay for experts to travel to Kansas to testify. And it agreed that the proposal from the eight would be posted on the state department’s Web site.
This is crap. There’s a system in place for external review of the standards. They would be compared with standards in similar states and in top-ranked school systems, as well and federal recommendations and advice from scientific bodies. The AAAS has already had discussions about this, and they recommended language not very different from what we have now. None of the proposed changes are supported by experts, and that’s why the “two opposing views” language is bullshit. There is one view, and a bunch of folks trying to circumvent the process.
Strong letters won’t be strong enough, there should be protests and hearings before the legislature.