Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Florida educators mandate evolution education

Transcript of today's show:

Florida may soon adopt new teaching standards that will require public school students to learn about evolution. These standards will be a step toward improving the state's poorly rated science education. Officials fear that without changes Florida students will be ill-prepared for college and a technology-based workplace. Said one author of the new standards , "If we want to be competitive in the world, we have to do this." The draft standards require in-depth instruction on the subject and clearly state "evolution is the fundamental concept underlying all of biology and is supported by multiple forms of scientific evidence."
[source: Orlando Sentinel]

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from the opinion page of Florida Today:
These standards -- written by a group of Florida professors and teachers, and based on recommendations of national science groups -- reflect volumes of undeniable evidence underpinning evolutionary concepts.

But it's a quantum leap from the state's abysmally inadequate current standards, which avoid use of the word evolution and which helped earn Florida an F for science teaching in 2005 from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a nonpartisan organization that researches educational issues.

Religious groups that deny the validity of evolution and want to mix faith-based ideas such as creationism in with science are likely to protest the move.

But the board should approve the frank teaching rules, which are part of a broader revamp to strengthen science education in public schools.

Florida's children need strong science skills to compete for jobs in a global workforce, and evolution is a critical part of that package.

from Mickey Carter, pastor at the Landmark Baptist Church in Haines City, FL:
These revisions are a disservice to students. There should be a balance between both intelligent design and evolution. We are denying freedom of ideas, speech and shutting down one side. The kids ought to be able to study both sides of it so we don't just turn out a bunch of rubber-stamped robots in the classroom. When it's all said and done, folks just don't give God enough credit. Too many things on this world cannot just be an accident. You've got to give some credit to some intelligence.

comment posted on the Florida Citizens for Science blog:

The new science standards will most certainly not denigrate religion, religion is quite capable of doing that to itself without any help from science. Many main stream religions (Jewish Catholic )readily accept evolution within their faith structure. It is mainly a small minority of religious zealots who wish to impose their narrow minded, out dated religious ideologies on the rest of the country. Saying ”God did it” is not science and does not belong in a science class room unless of course we can show scientific evidence that a God was responsible, and we can not.