Topeka The State Board of Education isn't through with the science standards yet.
Because of copyright disputes, portions of the standards are having to be rewritten, a process that could take several more weeks and cost several thousand more dollars.
In a move that caught worldwide attention, the 6-4 majority on the board in November approved science standards that criticize evolution and were drawn up by proponents of intelligent design.
The board majority says the standards give students a balanced view of evolution, but critics say the standards promote creationism.
But even before the vote was made, major science organizations - the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Teachers Assn. - notified the Kansas Department of Education that the state couldn't use its copyright material in the standards.
That has meant that the standards have been sent for review to a law firm that specializes in intellectual property.
"That is going on right now," said Dan Biles, an attorney who represents the board.
Evolution in Kansas
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- 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)
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- LJWorld.com's Evolution in Kansas coverage
Any language in the standards identified as copyright expressions will have to be rewritten, a job that will fall to the Department of Education, Biles said.
"You rewrite it so that it becomes your expression and not theirs," he said.
Biles said he expected the process to cost a few thousand dollars in legal fees. And, he said, he doesn't expect any difficulties in rewriting.
Once the standards are rewritten, the board may look at them again. That could occur as early as February.
"The staff will review those parts of the standards that might be identified as copyrightable and will change those," said board member Bill Wagnon, D-Topeka, whose district includes Lawrence and who opposes the standards.
The state has gone through the exercise before.
In 1999, a board majority de-emphasized evolution in the standards and the same two groups withheld their permission to use copyright language. Two years later, a newly elected board reinstated evolution.
-Staff writer Scott Rothschild can be reached at (785) 354-4222.