The Florida Citizens for Science reported that as of Jan. 31, 11 Florida county school boards had passed resolutions opposing the proposed Florida science standards' requirement that Darwinism be taught dogmatically. The FCS incorrectly stated for each of these Florida school boards, "the school board passed a formal resolution against the inclusion of evolution in the state science standards. " In all cases where I have seen a board’s actual resolution or read a media report about a resolution, the board did not say that it doesn’t want evolution to be taught at all. Many, maybe even all of the resolutions passed unanimously -- FCS does not mention any dissenting votes.
Futile efforts to keep these resolutions from spreading are keeping the Florida Citizens for Science busier than the proverbial one-legged man trying to stomp out a fire in a powder magazine.
The Pandas Thumb blog claims that one county school board, Brevard County's, supports the proposed standards, but there is no evidence of that. Quoting a Florida Today news article, Panda's Thumb says,
Superintendent Richard DiPatri said the change wouldn’t make a difference in Brevard Public Schools, where evolution already is taught and the curriculum is aligned with national science education standards . . . .
Ginger Davis, a science resource teacher for the Brevard district, said students participate in labs where theories of evolution can be proven.
“Evolutions is much more than just that one little piece of Darwin,” she said. “It is a fundamental scientific concept that you can observe in a lab, but people tend to want to focus on that little narrow piece.”
She said that in science, a theory is much like a law. Theories have to stand the test of time, and it’s more about observable trends than schools of thought, Davis said.
Interpreting that as school board support for the new science standards is wishful thinking.
A news article in the News Leader, a weekly Florida newspaper, says,
This language is proposed in draft revisions to Sunshine State Standards for science, evolution and diversity being considered for various grades by the state.
~~ Kindergarten: "Observe and describe . . . .
~~ Second: "Differentiate . . . . . .
~~ 12th: "Explain how evolution is demonstrated by the fossil record, extinction, comparative anatomy, comparative embryology, biogeography, molecular biology (crosscuts with Earth/space), and observed evolutionary change; discuss the use of molecular clocks to estimate how long ago various groups of organisms diverged evolutionarily from one another; explain the reasons for changes in how organisms are classified; compare and contrast organisms at kingdom level; discuss distinguishing characteristics of major kingdoms, . . . Express scientific explanations of the origin of life on Earth."
There is nothing in there specifically about the weaknesses of evolution theory. It might be possible to squeeze some of these weaknesses in under the standard, "Express scientific explanations of the origin of life on Earth."
The News Leader article also said,
The Nassau County School Board will ask state education officials to revise science standards "so that evolution is not presented as fact" . . .
. . . . Board members voted unanimously Thursday to adopt the resolution recommended by Schools Superintendent John Ruis . . .
Board members Gail Cook and Janet Adkins asked the superintendent to forward the resolution to the Florida Legislature, in addition to the state board of education.
"I was hoping they had heard enough" from the public "that we wouldn't have to do this," Cook said.
The state board will meet Feb. 19 in Tallahassee to consider the science standards.
Maybe one reason why the state board and the legislature have not "heard enough" from the public is that there have been 11 politically correct newspaper editorials that support the new standards and apparently no newspaper editorials that are opposed (see this and this), and this perhaps gives the false impression that public support for the proposed standards is overwhelming.
The controversy must really be heating up in Florida, because the SiteMeter for Florida Citizens for Science shows what must be some of the biggest spikes (see this and this) in website visits in American history -- from under 200 visits per day on Jan. 4-6 to over 10,000 visits on Jan. 11, and from 2,745 visits per month or less for Feb.-Oct. 07 to 33,731 visits for Jan. 08 and 19,643 visits for Dec. 07.
Labels: Evolution education