The evolution wars aren’t just a Texas phenomenon. On Thursday a group called Citizens for Objective Public Education filed a federal lawsuit to block Kansas from using multistate curriculum standards that treat evolution as established, mainstream science. From an Associated Press article:
The lawsuit argues that the new standards will cause Kansas public schools to promote a “non-theistic religious worldview” by allowing only “materialistic” or “atheistic” explanations to scientific questions, particularly about the origins of life and the universe. The suit further argues that state would be “indoctrinating” impressionable students in violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution’s protections for religious freedom.
John Calvert, an attorney involved in the lawsuit, worries that indoctrination of students will begin in kindergarten:
“By the time you get into the third grade, you learn all the essential elements of Darwinian evolution. By the time you’re in middle school, you’re a Darwinist.”
Josh Rosenau, programs and policy director for the National Center for Science Education, calls the lawsuit “silly”:
“They’re trying to say anything that’s not promoting their religion is promoting some other religion.”
Kansas and 25 other states helped develop the new multistate science standards. Texas was not among them, of course. The Texas State Board of Education thinks it can do a better job, and Gov. Rick Perry and a host of other Republicans officeholders agree. It’s tragic, really, especially considering that even the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute rates the Texas standards for science and social studies as, at best, mediocre and, at worst, politicized nonsense.
Kansas voters appear to have had enough of anti-evolution fanaticism. The state went through multiple revisions of its science curriculum standards as anti-evolution activists alternately won and lost control of the State Board of Education there from the late 1990s to 2006. The state has now had standards that support sound instruction on evolution since 2007, the year after moderates regained control of the board. The state board adopted the new multistate science standards in June of this year.
Anti-evolution activists on the Texas state board, on the other hand, have stacked official textbook review panels with like-minded ideologues. Those ideologues are currently pressuring publishers into dumbing down instruction on evolution in new textbooks up for adoption this year.
You can #StandUp4Science by joining thousands of Texans who have signed our petition calling on the State Board of Education to adopt new textbooks that are based on modern, mainstream science, not discredited arguments attacking evolution and climate change science.