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Archive for Tuesday, November 8, 2005

KU students wanting to teach biology consider leaving state

November 8, 2005

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It's still two years until his graduation day at Kansas University, but Mike Karlin already is eyeing the job market out of state.

Karlin, an education major from Overland Park who plans to teach high school biology, said he was tempted to avoid the controversy of teaching evolution in Kansas by landing a job elsewhere.

"It puts teachers in Kansas in a difficult situation," Karlin said. "It would make it more likely for me to go somewhere else."

For Karlin and other KU education majors, today's vote by the state Board of Education on the teaching of evolution is more than a hot-button political and social issue - soon it'll be part of their livelihood.

The evolution vote is expected to open state science curriculum to criticism of evolutionary theory while opening the door for more discussion of "intelligent design" - the belief that an intelligent being caused some complex features of the natural world.

The debate has been a topic of conversation in a variety of KU classes this fall, said Jim Ellis, associate professor of teaching and leadership.

Ninth-graders Gus Bova, left, and Cassiti Conklin work on a chromosome karyotypes exercise in their Central Junior High School biology class. KU students wanting to teach biology are debating whether to stay and teach in Kansas.

Ninth-graders Gus Bova, left, and Cassiti Conklin work on a chromosome karyotypes exercise in their Central Junior High School biology class. KU students wanting to teach biology are debating whether to stay and teach in Kansas.

"It comes up," Ellis said. "I send them e-mails of stories from the (news), so they're aware of the issue. The topic is something that's been around 80 or more years. That hasn't changed. I try to give them information about what's going on in Kansas - it's an interesting educational and political issue to follow."

Karlin said no matter which side future biology teachers are on with the issue, they know their teaching of evolution will be scrutinized by the time they make it into the classroom.

"In my opinion, it's impossible to teach intelligent design without bringing God into it," he said. "And you're not supposed to have God in public schools. If you're allowed to do that, it brings up the whole separation of church and state thing."

Kelly Calderone, a graduate student from Olathe who also plans to teach high school biology, said she was "on the fence" when it came to the evolution issue.

Marvin Hunt, assistant dean of continuing education at Kansas University, peeks through a microscope Oct. 25 at the Natural History Museum's "Explore Evolution" exhibit, which opened Nov. 1.

Marvin Hunt, assistant dean of continuing education at Kansas University, peeks through a microscope Oct. 25 at the Natural History Museum's "Explore Evolution" exhibit, which opened Nov. 1.

"I'm a Christian, so I have a difficult time with that one," she said. "I think God has a hand in things. I believe that, but do I need to teach that in the classroom? No."

She said she would prefer evolutionary theory to focus less on the origin of life and more on evolution within species - why, for instance, some iguanas have adapted to swim while others have not.

She said she feared parents someday would call her to complain about something she told her students in class.

"It makes me more nervous with parents than it does with students," she said.

Unlike Karlin, Calderone said the evolution controversy wouldn't persuade her to move out of state after graduation.

"I'd like to stay in Kansas," she said. "I kind of want to be involved with this drama."

Comments

gccs14r 9 years, 1 month ago

If the fundies want to force theocracy into biology classrooms, they should then be forced to permit evolutionary biology to be taught in Sunday school.

John1945 9 years, 1 month ago

The sky is falling, the sky is falling!!!!!

If it weren't for the rabid bigotry of the reporting of this non-event the hysteria over this would be an absolute giggle.

Get out the yellow crosses so we can force the Christians to identify themselves lest they infiltrate the "scientific community".

John1945 9 years, 1 month ago

Bill:

I personally look good in earth tones. I did pinstripes ages ago. Care for a used tie or 20?

bankboy119 9 years, 1 month ago

Actually as stated before we did learn about evolution in my sunday school class.

Now for all of the "intellectuals" out there....how does a cheetah descend from a whale?

D_1982 9 years, 1 month ago

"how does a cheetah descend from a whale?"

I hope you dont honestly believe the implication this question makes.

While I think Wendts answer is hillarious, Cheetas DON'T descent from whales. Each creature evolved along an independent trajectory throughout time.

If you truely believe proponents of evolution make such a claim, then you need to review the theory before any further critcisms.

Otherwise, stop burning straw men.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 1 month ago

Oy veh, the ignorance! "How does a cheetah descend from a whale?" This is a prime example of the level of understanding these intemperate fundamentalist wackos have of a subject on which they feel thay can expound.

Again, y'all need some knowledge.

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