|The Unintelligent Design of AZ’s K-12 Science Standards
Last May, we first brought your attention to Superintendent Diane Douglas’s attempts to introduce religious dogma into Arizona state science standards by not only watering down key basic concepts in evolution, but also literally removing the word evolution from much of the K-12 curriculum. Since then, we’ve learned that references to evolution have been further watered down and that references to climate change in science curriculum have been deleted, as well.
To recap: Douglas, who advocates for the teaching of “intelligent design” in Arizona’s public school classrooms, tampered with science standards by softening the treatment of evolution. National Center for Science Education (NCSE) Deputy Director Glenn Branch noted that Douglas’s revision would mislead students and teachers about the scientific community’s almost universal acceptance of evolution as fact; 98% of scientists agree that humans-indeed, all life on Earth-have evolved over time, according to The Pew Research Center.
After a public comment period in which thousands expressed their opposition to these changes, Douglas appointed a special committee to review draft sections that dealt with evolution.
Last week, we learned that one member of Douglas’s committee is a “young-earth creationist” who believes that the Earth is 6,000 years old and that Noah’s ark saved adolescent dinosaurs from extinction during a worldwide flood (3). When working on the draft revisions, this committee member successfully convinced other members to de-emphasize evolution’s role in the unity and diversity of life. The idea of common ancestry, a key point in the National Research Council’s Framework for K-12 Science Education and Working with Big Ideas of Science Education(both major sources for the Arizona standards), was excluded from the draft. Discussions of topics related to climate change have also been deleted.
In light of these recent revelations, it’s clear that the Board of Education must return the drafted standards to the Arizona Department of Education to correct these introduced inaccuracies. A curriculum based on scientific facts, rather than religious dogma, is key to providing Arizona’s children with an education that will prepare them for future success.
As NCSE executive Director Ann Reid states, “Arizona can do better than this. Anyone who cares about the integrity of science education in Arizona should tell the board return the standards to the department of education for further work – under the guidance, I hope, of a superintendent who understands the value of science education.”
Use our action alert system to send a message to the State Board of Education asking them to FAIL the K-12 science standards and send them back to the Department of Education to be revised to reflect their original, accurate content.
Here’s what you can do to help:
Thank you for taking action on this very important issue! Our future depends on it.
– Secular Coalition for Arizona Board of Directors and Staff