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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2015/05/22

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

South Dakota adopts new science standards, while Missouri's
antievolution bill is dead.


The South Dakota state board of education adopted a new set of science
standards for the state on May 18, 2015. The new standards were
developed in South Dakota, but include elements of the Next Generation
Science Standards, which have so far been adopted in thirteen states
-- California, Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada,
New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and West
Virginia -- plus the District of Columbia.

During a series of public hearings on the proposed standards, "[t]he
debate over choosing standards for science education in South Dakota's
public schools [became] a divisive battleground with a clear split
between science professionals who strongly support the new standards
and opposing parents who disbelieve climate change and evolution,"
reported the Rapid City Journal (March 17, 2015).

A recognition of the controversy appears in the introduction to the
standards: "Through the public hearing process related to adoption of
the South Dakota Science Standards, it is evident that there is
particular sensitivity to two issues: climate change and evolution."
Nevertheless, the South Dakota standards on climate change and
evolution are not significantly different from the corresponding
standards in the NGSS.

The board "recognizes that parents are their children's first
teachers, and that parents play a critical role in their children's
formal education" and "that not all viewpoints can be covered in the
science classroom," adding, "the board recommends that parents engage
their children in discussions regarding these important issues, in
order that South Dakota students are able to analyze all forms of
evidence and argument and draw their own conclusions."

For the new standards (PDF), visit: 

For the story in the Rapid City Journal, visit: 

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in South Dakota, visit: 


Missouri's House Bill 486 died in committee in the Missouri House of
Representatives on May 15, 2015, when the legislature adjourned.

HB 486 purported to confer "academic freedom to teach scientific
evidence regarding evolution" to teachers. If enacted, the bill would
in effect have encouraged science teachers with idiosyncratic opinions
to teach anything they pleased, while preventing responsible
educational authorities from intervening. The bill specifically cited
"the theory of biological and hypotheses of chemical evolution" as

HB 486 was referred to the House Committee on Elementary and Secondary
Education, where it died without a hearing.

For Missouri's House Bill 486 as introduced (PDF), visit: 


Have you been visiting NCSE's blog, The Science League of America,
recently? If not, then you've missed:

* Josh Rosenau displaying data on different denominational attitudes
toward evolution and the environment: 

* Stephanie Keep discussing Yi qi with Corwin Sullivan: 

* Steven Newton debunking the so-called Oregon Petition: 

And much more besides!

For The Science League of America, visit: 

Thanks for reading. And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- -- where you can always find the latest news on 
evolution and climate education and threats to them.


Glenn Branch
Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
420 40th Street, Suite 2
Oakland, CA 94609-2509
510-601-7203 x303
fax: 510-601-7204

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