NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2008/11/07
(By NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch:)
Dear Friends of NCSE, In Florida, the new state science standards may have to be reconsidered, while the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, will be hosting a multidisciplinary student conference on "Darwin's Legacy: Evolution's Impact on Science and Culture."
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD IN FLORIDA? After a long and contentious wrangle, the Florida state board of education voted 4-3 at its February 19, 2008, meeting to adopt a new set of state science standards in which evolution is presented as a "fundamental concept underlying all of biology." But now there are concerns that, due to a recent state law, the standards will have to be approved again. The St. Petersburg Times (November 6, 2008) explains, "The new law requires the state Board of Education to adopt new academic standards by the end of 2011. That may include a new set of science standards, because the Board of Education adopted the latest standards a few months before the bill passed and was signed into law by Gov. Charlie Crist." It is not yet clear whether the standards will indeed have to be approved again, but Brian Moore, a staff attorney, with the state legislature's Joint Administrative Procedures Committee (which reviews the rules proposed by state agencies to ensure that they are in compliance with state law), told the department of education that he thought so. According to Education Week's curriculum blog (November 5, 2008), "It's possible, Moore explained, that Florida's commissioner of education could seek to have various experts certify that the recently approved science standards comply with the Next Generation law. But it appears likely that new standards would have to be re-approved in some form by the state board of education." If so, the prospect of a renewed fight over the treatment of evolution in the standards looms. "Hallelujah" was the response of Terry Kemple, who opposed the treatment of evolution in the new standards. "This is an opportunity for both sides to step back and let this be a fairer endeavor," he said. Brandon Haught of the grassroots organization Florida Citizens for Science told the Times, "Maybe the legislators simply overlooked this and there's a simple solution," adding that the group would "hope for the best but plan for the worst." For now, the situation remains uncertain. A spokesperson for the department of education told the Times, "We are currently researching the matter so there are no specifics to offer at this point." For the story in the St. Petersburg Times, visit: http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/k12/article892815.ece For the story in Education Week's curriculum blog, visit: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2008/11/about_those_new_florida_scienc.html For Florida Citizens for Science's website and blog, visit: http://www.flascience.org http://www.flascience.org/wp/ And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Florida, visit: http://www.ncseweb.org/news/florida CALL FOR PAPERS: DARWIN'S LEGACY The Evolution Learning Community at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, will be hosting "Darwin's Legacy: Evolution's Impact on Science and Culture" -- a multidisciplinary student conference to be held March 19-21, 2009. The conference will be a unique opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students in the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and arts who are conducting research or creative endeavors related to evolution to present their research, investigate graduate study opportunities, network, enhance their CVs, and enrich the body of knowledge surrounding evolution. Abstracts are due on January 30, 2009; authors will be notified of acceptance by February 12, 2009. Abstracts may be submitted to any of the following theme sessions: evolution and the social sciences; evolution and religion; evolution and human uniqueness; economics of evolution and its consequences; the biodiversity crisis and conservation; Darwin's impact on art, music, and literature; sex and evolution; genomes, race, and medicine; evolution and ethics; the future of humanity; species in space and time; speciation and the species problem. Note that papers need not be submitted to a theme session; presentations on any topic related to evolution are welcome. In addition to the student presentations, there will be addresses by keynote speakers, including Kevin Padian, David Mindell, David Buss, and Peter Carruthers. For information about the conference, visit: http://library.uncw.edu/web/outreach/evolution/conference.html REMINDER If you wish to unsubscribe to these evolution education updates, please send: unsubscribe ncse-news firstname.lastname@example.org in the body of an e-mail to email@example.com. If you wish to subscribe, please send: subscribe ncse-news firstname.lastname@example.org again in the body of an e-mail to email@example.com. Thanks for reading! And as always, be sure to consult NCSE's web site: http://www.ncseweb.org where you can always find the latest news on evolution education and threats to it. Sincerely, Glenn Branch Deputy Director National Center for Science Education, Inc. 420 40th Street, Suite 2 Oakland, CA 94609-2509 510-601-7203 x305 fax: 510-601-7204 800-290-6006 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.ncseweb.org Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design Is Wrong for Our Schools http://www.ncseweb.org/nioc Eugenie C. Scott's Evolution vs. Creationism http://www.ncseweb.org/evc NCSE's work is supported by its members. Join today! http://www.ncseweb.org/membership