Topeka As some Kansas officials spoke Monday of the future during inaugural ceremonies, others were focused on changing the past.
Kansas State Board of Education member Janet Waugh said she would ask the board today to revisit subjects that have torn the board apart: science standards and sex education.
"These were issues that came up in my campaign, and I intend to address them," said Waugh, a Democrat from Kansas City, Kan., whose district includes part of eastern Douglas County.
During the past two years, a 6-4 conservative majority instated science standards for schools that criticize evolution and sex education standards that experts say would make it more difficult for students to take the class.
Waugh was a member of the minority, but last year's elections reshaped the board, giving it a 6-4 moderate majority that starts work today.
Waugh said she would ask that the board get briefed on science standards that support evolution, and that the education department's staff provide a report on the sex education standards.
She said the board could take action to approve different science standards as soon as next month.
Steve Case, the Kansas University science researcher who was chairman of a committee of scientists and teachers who developed science standards that support evolution, has said he is eager to work with the new board.
Even though the 6-4 conservative majority had rejected the committee's work, Case said the committee continued to meet to complete its report.
"Since we do have a new majority, they've expressed interest in these recommendations," Case said.
He said the report needs some final touch-up but is generally ready for approval.
Even though his work product appears to be teed up for approval, Case said the constant battle about science standards is not good for the education system.
"This process is clearly broken," he said.
Kansas science standards have been changed in 1999, 2001 and 2005 as the board has seesawed between conservative and moderate leadership.