Board of Education members met in Topeka Tuesday to start reviewing science standards.">

Evolution Debate

By: Cara Kumari
By: Cara Kumari

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Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2004

Five years ago, Kansas gained international attention for eliminating evolution from the school curriculum. The decision was eventually reversed, but now Kansas returns to the limelight as top school leaders reopen the evolution debate.

Board of Education members met in Topeka Tuesday to start reviewing science standards. One part of the curriculum that’s causing debate is evolution.

Board members must decide whether to keep the standards the way they are or include creationism in the classroom.

The board more or less avoided the area about evolution, saying it still needs more debate and discussion.

“That’s what the new members ran on, to change science standards, so I think that will be happening,” says Carol Rupe, who sits on the board of education.

In 1999, the state board voted to de-emphasize evolution in the classroom, a decision that was followed by international ridicule.

The decision was reversed in 2001 when the board was equally split between the moderates and conservatives. But the newly elected board has six to four majority in favor of conservatives and they want to see creationism taught side-by-side with evolution.

“It’s important for students to hear both sides before they make a determination about it,” says Steve Abrams, a Kansas Board of Education member.

The board of education will hold public hearings on the science standards next month and nothing will be final until the board finalizes and passes the standards in June.

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