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Archive for Tuesday, September 7, 1999

READY FOR COLLEGE?

September 7, 1999

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To the editor:

The Kansas Board of Education's ruling that, in primary and secondary public schools, no emphasis shall be given to biological and astronomical evolution and that these topics shall not be covered in the state's assessment of students, raises important issues for the state's public universities.

Will Kansas high school graduates, who, by law, must be admitted to the state' universities, be prepared for these institutions if they have not been exposed to the hard zoological, biological and astronomical evidence concerning the evolution of species and of the universe? When qualified admissions are introduced in 2001, will they qualify? Will other high school graduates, with the sort of secondary education envisioned by the board of education, be at a competitive disadvantage if they seek admission to institutions of higher learning in other states? Will they be admitted to pre-med programs or science programs?

Kansas University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, in its admission requirements for entering freshmen, states that they should have taken, among other high school courses, three years of natural science. That does not mean "creation science," which is not a science but a religious belief that is best taught by clergmen in churches. Else they may find it necessary to spend additional time in taking remedial course work before they begin to take their required college level natural science courses. I suspect that the state's other public universities have similar requirements.

Clearly there is a conflict between the views of the Board of Education and the universities about the nature of science. Do Kansans want to create a dual system of knowledge, one for those fortunate enough to go to college, and another one for those who canot afford to do so?

Unless we want Kansas to fall further into disrepute among educators across the nation, KU's chancellor, as the leader of the state's main research university, as well as the heads of the state's other public universities, should speak out clearly on behalf of their institutions on this important issue. It must not be left for final determination in the inexpert hands of the current board of education.

Carl H. Lande,

Lawrence.

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