Thursday, February 05, 2004
Georgia considers banning 'evolution'
CNN.com : "ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) -- The state's school superintendent has proposed striking the word evolution from Georgia's science curriculum and replacing it with the phrase 'biological changes over time.'
The change is included in more than 800 pages of draft revisions to Georgia's curriculum that have been posted by the Department of Education on its Web site. The middle and high school standards are expected to be voted on by the state Board of Education in May, after public feedback.
Superintendent Kathy Cox said the concept of evolution would still be taught under the proposal, but the word would not be used. The proposal would not require schools to buy new textbooks omitting the word evolution and would not prevent teachers from using it.
Cox repeatedly referred to evolution as a 'buzzword' Thursday and said the ban was proposed, in part, to alleviate pressure on teachers in socially conservative areas where parents object to its teaching.
'If teachers across this state, parents across this state say, 'This is not what we want,' then we'll change it,' said Cox, a Republican elected in 2002.
Educators and legislators criticized the proposal, saying science teachers understand the theories behind evolution and how to teach them.
'Here we are, saying we have to improve standards and improve education, and we're just throwing a bone to the conservatives with total disregard to what scientists say,' said state Rep. Bob Holmes, a Democrat.
Social conservatives who prefer religious creation to be taught instead of evolution criticized the proposal as well.
'If you're teaching the concept without the word, what's the point?' said Rep. Bobby Franklin, a Republican. 'It's stupid. It's like teaching gravity without using the word gravity.'"
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