Coalition defends quality science education in Kansas
Four organizations dedicated to quality education have joined in a coalition in response to recent attacks on quality science education in Kansas.
The Kansas Academy of Science, Kansas Citizens For Science, Kansas Families United for Public Education, and The MAINstream Coalition have united to issue the attached Position Paper on the State Science Standards in support of the work of the state science standards committee and in opposition to the upcoming "science hearings" to be held by three conservative members of the Kansas Board of Education.
The three, Steve Abrams, Kathy Martin, and Connie Morris, are all opposed to evolution and in support of creationism. They propose to question "witnesses" who will testify for and against evolutionary theory, ostensibly in order to decide whether to accept the science standards adopted by the state 25-member Science Standards Writing Committee or to include content from the minority report presented by the eight Intelligent Design creationists on the committee.
The coalition members have resolved to boycott these "science hearings" (see details at http://www.kcfs.org). Scientists around the nation are supporting the boycott, refusing to participate in what they consider a "kangaroo court" in which the outcome is a foregone conclusion: science standards which do not support teaching evolution as it is understood and used around the world.
The Intelligent Design creationists have called 23 witnesses who will participate, at tax-payer expense, under the direction of retired trial lawyer John Calvert, head of the Intelligent Design network, Inc. These "science hearings" will be nothing but a tax-supported showcase for Intelligent Design creationism.
The science, religious, and educational communities will not remain silent, however. The coalition is planning a number of events to present their views outside the "hearings" process. Details will be announced as they are available.
"Intelligent Design Creationism is a theological idea, which the Constitution does not allow to be taught in public school science classes," said Harry McDonald, President of Kansas Citizens For Science. "Our young people need to learn useful science, not religiously based ideas like Intelligent Design Creationism, in science classes. The future is in bioscience, and we want our young people to be part of that future."
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Coalition of Organizations and Individuals Supporting Quality Science Education in Kansas
Position Paper on the State Science Standards
April 15, 2005
Science has been stunningly successful in increasing human understanding of the natural world and in improving our quality of life. Yet science education is under attack. We support quality science education in public schools, and we oppose politically motivated attempts to insert theological concepts into science in public education classrooms.
The Science Standards Writing Committee, appointed last year by the Kansas State Board of Education, has developed a superb set of standards for teaching science at all levels in public schools. But instead of accepting these standards, the Board of Education has subverted the process. They are now planning on spending tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to stage a series of hearings intended to showcase a theology known as Intelligent Design creationism as a substitute for science. We support the adoption of the standards written by the science standards writing committee. We reject the show-trial hearings, whose purpose is to make it appear that Intelligent Design creationism and the well-established science of evolution are on equal footing.
We recognize that there are many ways of interpreting our world, such as science, religion, and art. Science deals with investigating nature, while the others deal with different aspects of our life. The theory of evolution, a unifying concept in modern biology, is accepted as such by millions of devout believers of all major faiths. Fully understanding biology is impossible without understanding evolution. For this reason, we support the teaching of science, including evolution, that has passed intense scrutiny and review by the world’s science community, and we oppose attempts to dilute that teaching, whether by adding intelligent design creationism, young-earth creationism, or trumped-up "evidence against evolution" to public school science curricula.
Kansans should refuse to allow our children to be left behind. Science is becoming increasingly important to economic growth in Kansas and nationwide. Our children need a good solid science education in order to compete in the global marketplace. In supporting quality science education, we support a bright future for our children, our state, and our world.
We urge all Kansans to join us in adopting the following positions:
1. We request that the State Board of Education adopt the final draft of the standards offered later this spring by the writing committee, without revisions.
2. We request that the State Board of Education cancel all special opportunities for the Intelligent Design minority to present their views. We especially urge the Board to cancel the so-called "science hearings" scheduled in May. The minority proposals were considered and rejected by a two-thirds majority of the science standards writing committee. The BOE should accept that and give the minority group no further special privileges.
Signatures:The Kansas Academy of Science Mike Everhart, president
Kansas Citizens For Science Harry McDonald, president
Kansas Families United for Public Education John Martellaro, president
The Mainstream Coalition Caroline McKnight, director
To join the coalition or sign the Position paper, see the contact information on the News release, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.