TOPEKA A sharply divided State Board of Education today approved science standards that critics say will promote religion in school, hurt the state's economy and make Kansas a national joke.
"This is a sad day for the state of Kansas," said board member Carol Rupe, R-Wichita.
But Board Chairman Steve Abrams, a Republican from Arkansas City, defended the new standards as giving students an opportunity to learn about the controversy surrounding evolution. "This is one of the best things we can do," he said.
After nearly an hour of debate, the 6-4 majority of social conservatives pushed through the standards that open up criticism of evolution.
Now Kansas joins a handful of states, prodded by supporters of intelligent design, that have taken on evolution. John Calvert, managing director of Intelligent Design Network, who helped produce a four-day hearing in May to bash evolution, said, "No longer will Darwin be taught dogmatically in Kansas public schools."
The board vote ended nearly 10 months of often rancorous debate that attracted international attention. The decision also signaled the next phase of the struggle -- the 2006 election when four of the six conservatives up are for re-election; several have already drawn opponents.
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius criticized the board's action. "If we're going to continue to bring high-tech jobs to Kansas and move our state forward, we need to strengthen science standards, not weaken them," she said.
Evolution in Kansas
- 6News video: Some question group's move with elections nearing (07-08-06)
- 49abcnews.com video: Discovery Institute starts ad campaign weeks before elections (07-07-06)
- 6News video: Film explores evolution circus (01-03-06)
- 6News video: Group takes shot at Mirecki through postcards (12-15-05)
- 6News video: Mirecki resigns from KU department post (12-07-05)
- Education board to revisit debate over evolution (02-11-07)
- As old board departs, new evolution stance takes shape (12-14-06)
- Biologist speaks for intelligent design (12-08-06)
- Cultures clash in Democratic primary (07-06-06)
- Education department spokesman leaves job (06-15-06)
- Evolution, religion comments put heat on department spokesman (05-26-06)
- KU profs support evolution skepticism (02-21-06)
- Science teachers pan new standards (02-14-06)
- 'Dodos' circling around I.D. (01-04-06)
- Attorneys in I.D. case spread message (01-04-06)
- Professor blasts KU, sheriff's investigation (12-10-05)
- Kansas ranks last in science (12-08-05)
- Discovery Institute
- Evolution timeline: Events related to the Kansas controversy
- U.S. District Court Ruling in Kitzmiller et al v. Dover Area School District (PDF)
- Center for Science and Culture: A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism
- Parody: Intelligent Design Society of Kansas
- Mirecki press release (.pdf)
- More evolution coverage
- LJWorld.com's Evolution in Kansas coverage