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Topic: National Science Board on Evolution - Kansas
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 14,475
Registered: 12/3/04
National Science Board on Evolution - Kansas
Posted: Aug 21, 1999 1:29 PM
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The National Science Board notes with sadness and deep concern the recent
action of the Kansas Board of Education to remove evolution as a topic for
required teaching and testing in the state's science curriculum. Although
the Kansas Board's vote allows local schools to continue teaching evolution
in science classes, teaching and learning stand to suffer.

Evolution is a well-documented process - and the rich scientific debate
about its precise nature will continue to contribute to our knowledge base.
But biology, like every science, does not exist in isolation. The Kansas
action removed a key element from the body of scientific knowledge that
schoolchildren need to learn and, in so doing, diminished the quality of
education that they are likely to receive.

At a time of already-profound concern about the quality of mathematics and
science education in our Nation's schools, the Kansas action is a retreat
from responsibility. A school board, whether elected or appointed, is
expected to act not only in its community's best interest, but also in the
national interest. America's children will someday be expected to think,
vote, and participate in the global economy and local community debates -
many grounded in the life sciences. An appreciation of the tensions among
observation, explanation, theory, and fact will prepare them to be
knowledgeable and effective citizens.

Parents, educators, and policymakers should regard damaging cuts to a state
curriculum with dismay. Such decisions may be "local" but, if unchallenged,
they will ultimately affect the quality of life in this Nation for years to

The National Science Board serves as the governing board of the National
Science Foundation and provides advice to the President and the Congress on
matters of national science and engineering policy.
NSB 99-149; August 20, 1999
Media Contact: Mary Hanson -- (703) 306-1070 / mhanson@nsf.gov
Program Contact: Daryl Chubin -- (703) 306-2000
Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA
Fax: (618)453-4244
Phone: (618)453-4241 (office)
E-mail: jbecker@siu.edu

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