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Archive for Saturday, August 7, 1999

GROUP PROTESTING BOE SCIENCE STANDARDS

August 7, 1999

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Group plans to protest state board's science education standards.

Scientists, science teachers and concerned residents are organizing to protest anti-evolution science standards that the State Board of Education seems poised to adopt Wednesday.

Calling themselves Citizens For Science, the organization will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. Sunday at Dyche Hall on the Kansas University campus.

"We're opposed to dumping kids into this morass of (intellectual) goo," said Steve Case, spokesman for the group, formed after the debate over the teaching of evolution began raging 10 months ago. "It will impair their test scores and performance on college entrance exams. About 30 questions on the SAT are about evolution, from molecular biology to ecology to evolution and diversity."

Case is director of the Kansas Collaborative Research Network at KU.

He served on the 27-member advisory committee of scientists and teachers that wrote five drafts of proposed curriculum standards for the state board. But the board never voted on the standards. And, in the past month, a subcommittee of three board members wrote its own version of the science standards.

That version deletes most references to evolution.

Curriculum standards approved by the board will describe the skills and subjects public school students are tested on.

Case said, if the board adopts the revised standards, it will abdicate its responsibility to set education standards for the state, leaving the decision to local school boards.

But board Chairwoman Linda Holloway said that is exactly what the board hopes to do with the subcommittee's proposal.

"They have a very extreme view," Holloway said of opponents of the proposed standards. "They do not trust local communities to make the best decisions."

Holloway said the state standard probably will have little effect on what actually is taught in local school districts.

"I think most will go on as they are," she said.

Case estimates Citizens For Science has a loosely organized membership of about 100 across the state. The group also plans to monitor student performance on standardized science tests in future years, he said, if the board approves the standards.

-- Erwin Seba's phone message number is 832-7145. His e-mail address is eseba@ljworld.com.

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