National Center for Science Education
"Call it a back-door approach to failed attempts to chip away at state standards on teaching evolution and to bring creationism into the public school classroom," wrote the Lafayette, Indiana, Journal and Courier (January 20, 2015), referring to Senate Bill 562, which if enacted would deprive administrators of the ability to prevent teachers from miseducating students about "scientific controversies."
Indiana's Senate Bill 562, introduced and referred to the Senate Committee on Education & Career Development on January 20, 2015, is the second antiscience bill of the year, following Missouri's House Bill 486.
NCSE is delighted to congratulate Richard Lewontin on being named as a recipient of the Crafoord Prize in Biosciences for 2015.
A milestone: there are now over 90,000 fans of NCSE's Facebook page. Why not join them, by visiting the page and becoming a fan by clicking on the "Like" box by NCSE's name?
Missouri's House Bill 486 (PDF), introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives on January 13, 2015, would confer "academic freedom to teach scientific evidence regarding evolution" to teachers. If enacted, the bill would in effect encourage science teachers with idiosyncratic opinions to teach anything they pleased, and discourage responsible educational authorities from intervening. The bill specifically cites "the theory of biological and hypotheses of chemical evolution" as controversial.
"The West Virginia Board of Education voted Wednesday to withdraw changes proposed to the state's science education standards," reports the Charleston Gazette (January 14, 2015).
West Virginia's board of education is to reconsider its decision to undermine the treatment of climate science in its new state science standards at its January 14, 2015, meeting, according to The New York Times (January 13, 2015).
It's time to dust off your Darwin costume again: less than a month remains before Darwin Day 2015!
NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview (PDF) of James McClintock's Lost Antarctica: Adventures in a Disappearing Land (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).
"Groups that support teaching students about the evidence showing that humans are contributing to a global rise in temperatures are speaking out against West Virginia's changes to the state's new K-12 science education standards," reports the Charleston Gazette (January 4, 2015).
The dismissal of a creationist lawsuit seeking to prevent Kansas from adopting the Next Generation Science Standards on the grounds that doing so would "establish and endorse a non-theistic religious worldview" is now under appeal. The Associated Press (December 31, 2014) reports that the plaintiffs in COPE et al. v. Kansas State Board of Education et al. filed a notice of appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit on December 30, 2014.
"At the request of a West Virginia Board of Education member who said he doesn't believe human-influenced climate change is a 'foregone conclusion,' new state science standards on the topic were altered before the state school board adopted them," reported the Charleston Gazette (December 28, 2014), in a detailed story.
Wyoming's House Bill 23 (PDF), introduced on December 23, 2014, would, if enacted, repeal the footnote in the law establishing the state budget for 2014-2016 that precludes the use of state funds "for any review or adoption" of the Next Generation Science Standards.
NCSE is pleased to congratulate Patricia Kelley — a professor of geology at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, and a member of NCSE's Advisory Council — on her selection as one of four Outstanding Professors of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Michigan's House Bill 4972, which would, if enacted, have required that Michigan's "model core academic curriculum standards shall not be based on the Next Generation Science Standards," died in the House Committee on Education when the legislature adjourned on December 19, 2014.
The chorus of support for the teaching of evolution continues, with a position statement on evolution from Leeds Museums and Galleries.
The Scottish government rejected the proposal to ban the teaching of creationism in publicly funded schools in Scotland, according to the Glasgow Herald (December 16, 2014). The head of Curriculum Unit at the Learning Directorate told the newspaper, "I can ... confirm that there are no plans to issue guidance to schools or education authorities to prevent the presentation of creationism, intelligent design or similar doctrines by teachers or school visitors. The evidence available suggests that guidance on these matters is unnecessary."
Ohio's House Bill 597 — which if enacted would require students in the state's public schools to "review, in an objective manner, the scientific strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific theories in the [state science] standards" — died in the legislature, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer (December 15, 2014).