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Two members of the Kansas (USA) board of education who voted last year to adopt new science standards that mildly de-emphasized evolution lost their bid on August 1 to return to their posts. Another Republican candidate who supported their position also was defeated.
For the past year, many in the secular media—joined by liberal activists and “moderates” in the state—misrepresented what happened in August 1999 when the school board approved new science standards, claiming that evolution had been “eliminated” from the state science standards. Some anti-creationists even declared that evolution was banned from the classrooms outright. Actually the concept is mentioned a few times in the newly approved document. The state of Kansas became fodder for late-night comics, who repeated the falsehood that evolution had been removed from the schools of Kansas.
On August 1, in the Republican primary (the general election is in November), incumbent Linda Holloway (she was the board’s chairperson last year when the now infamous decision was made), Brad Angell, and incumbent Mary Douglas Brown were defeated. (By the way, not all the seats on the 10-member board are up for re-election this year.)
Tuesday’s vote could tip the balance and see a change in the standards that may emphasize the teaching of evolutionary concepts; the vote was 6–4 last year to approve the current standards. According to the Wichita (Kansas) Eagle newspaper (August 2), the three victors “vowed to change the standards if elected” in November.
The secular media have generally misrepresented other aspects of what truly occurred in Kansas. For example, the state standards are not mandatory for school districts to follow—local school districts are free to teach science in their own way. Indeed, some school districts have continued to teach evolution as if nothing had happened. In fact, the state board does not have the authority to ban evolution—the local school boards are free to ignore the state’s standards. All that happened of any consequence was that statewide tests for students are based on the standards, and therefore questions on evolutionary concepts may not be found on these student assessment tests.
Steve Abrams, who voted last year with Holloway and Brown to approve the new standards, was the only Republican incumbent who won on August 1, and now faces Democrat Wayne Holt in the November general election.
For more background on this story which has received much press attention in the United States (including ABC-TV’s evening news report on August 2 and a feature story on the “Nightline” news broadcast late last month), please see any of the following articles: