Or to use another film reference, it’s back to the future once again in Kansas, where the state board of education is set to have a controversy over the teaching of evolution for the, what, 4th or 5th time in the last 13 years? This time the fight is over a set of proposed national standards for science teaching:
Kansas is now among 26 states helping to draft new science standards alongside the National Research Council, with the goal of creating standard, nationwide guidelines. A first draft became public last month, and the Kansas board is scheduled to hear an update on Tuesday.
Education Commissioner Diane DeBacker said a final draft could be ready by the end of the year, and the board would then decide whether to make those standards the state’s standards.
But the decision may not be made until after the November election — in which five of the 10 board seats will be on the ballot.
Board member Ken Willard, a Hutchinson Republican, said he’s troubled by the first draft of the proposed standards. In the past, Willard has supported standards for Kansas with material that questions evolution; guidelines that he and other conservatives approved in 2005 were supplanted by the current ones.
Willard said the draft embraces naturalism and secular humanism, which precludes God or another supreme being in considering how the universe works. He said he intends to raise the issue Tuesday.
“That’s going to be very problematic,” Willard told The Associated Press in an interview. “They are preferring one religious position over another.”
Science standards that embrace naturalism — what a concept!