Archive for Wednesday, December 13, 2000

Science standards revisited

Letter to the editor

December 13, 2000

To the editor:

At its January 2001 meeting, the Kansas State Board of Education is scheduled to revisit the Kansas Science Education Standards and perhaps consider a new draft that restores evolution and related concepts.

Advocates on both sides would be well-advised to check the actual documents that will be discussed in order to avoid the misunderstanding that accompanied much of the 1999 testimony. With the exception of the consistently accurate reports by the education reporter for the Kansas City Star, much media reporting was inaccurate and led to confusion for school personnel and the public. In 1999, the original proposed science education standards did not force students to believe in evolution and the alternative standards adopted did not require equal time for creationism or prohibit the teaching of evolution.

The current standards approved by the state board in 1999 have been distributed to local school districts and are available in print upon request from the Kansas Department of Education, 120 SE 10th Ave., Topeka, 66612-1182, and can be found online at www.ksbe.state.ks.us by routing to the science standards.

The proposed standards (Draft 6) by the 27-member science writing committee has been updated since Draft 5 was proposed in 1999. Tentative and final text of Draft 6 will be available online at kabt.org/standards as they become available, and in print from Schrock, I 1101 W. 18th Ave., Emporia, 66801.

Those who wish to testify at the state education board's public forum will likely have a short time allotment. Therefore speakers should prepare written testimony and be prepared to stop at the end of their time period; speaking overtime harms your cause. In addition, all members of the State Board of Education are concerned with what is best for the schoolchildren of Kansas. Uncivil comments and failure to respect the board's position likewise harms a speaker's cause. Many speakers in 1999 were polite, civil and constructive. Some were not.

If advocates do their homework and mind the manners their mothers taught them, this round of science standards deliberations may be less contentious.

John Richard Schrock, member of the science writing committee, Emporia.

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