Magazine article Church & State

Georgia Schools Chief Erases Evolution, Then Restores It to Standards

Magazine article Church & State

Georgia Schools Chief Erases Evolution, Then Restores It to Standards

Article excerpt

Georgia's superintendent of schools ,announced, in January that the word evolution' would be dropped from state biology standards, but quickly reversed herself after public outcry.

Superintendent Kathy Cox came under fire after she released new proposed standards for middle and high school classes over the internet in January and solicited public comment. Critics immediately noticed that the word "evolution" did not appear in the biology standards. Instead, the standards referred to "biological changes over time."

Cox initially tried to defend the action. At a press conference, she told reporters that evolution is "a buzzword that causes a lot of negative reaction" because, she said, many people associate it with "that monkeys-to-man sort of thing."

Science educators in the state were appalled. "They've taken away a major component of biology and acted as if it doesn't exist," David Bechler, head of the Biology Department at Valdosta State University told The New York Times. "By doing this, we're leaving the public short-changed of the knowledge they should have."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that a committee of science teachers, college professors and curriculum experts helped draw up the standards. The committee based them on national standards that include evolution, but that material was later removed.

Terrie Kielborn, a middle school science teacher who served on the committee, told the newspaper the committee felt pressured to keep evolution out. …

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