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Old 01-29-2004, 04:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Georgia to outlaw "evolution" in schools

Georgia may shun 'evolution' in schools
Revised curriculum plan outrages science teachers

By MARY MacDONALD
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Georgia students could graduate from high school without learning much about evolution, and may never even hear the word uttered in class.

New middle and high school science standards proposed by state Schools Superintendent Kathy Cox strike references to "evolution" and replace them with the term "biological changes over time," a revision critics say will further weaken learning in a critical subject.

Outraged teachers already have told the state it is undercutting the science education of young Georgians.

"Just like any major issue people need to deal with, you need to know the facts," said David Bechler, head of the biology department at Valdosta State University. A member of the committee that worked on the biology standards, Bechler said he was stunned to learn that evolution was not in the final proposal.

"Whether you believe in creationism or not, evolution should be known and understood by the public," he argued.

Cox declined requests for an interview on the issue. A spokesman issued a statement Wednesday that said: "The discussion of evolution is an age-old debate and it is clear that there are those in Georgia who are passionate on both sides of the issue -- we want to hear from all of them."

Cox, a Republican elected to the state's top public school position in 2002, addressed the issue briefly in a public debate during the campaign. The candidates were asked about a school dispute in Cobb County over evolution and Bible-based teachings on creation.

Cox responded: "It was a good thing for parents and the community to stand up and say we want our children exposed to this [creationism] idea as well. . . . I'd leave the state out of it and I would make sure teachers were well prepared to deal with competing theories."

Gateway course

Biology is a gateway course to future studies of the life sciences. And scientists consider evolution the basis for biology, a scientific explanation for the gradual process that has resulted in the diversity of living things.

If the state does not require teachers to cover evolution thoroughly, only the most politically secure teachers will attempt to do so, said Wes McCoy, a 26-year biology teacher at North Cobb High School. Less experienced teachers will take their cue from the state requirements, he said.

"They're either going to tread very lightly or they're going to ignore it," McCoy said. "Students will be learning some of the components of evolution. They're going to be missing how that integrates with the rest of biology. They may not understand how evolution explains the antibiotic resistance in bacteria."

The state curriculum does not preclude an individual public school system from taking a deeper approach to evolution, or any other topic. And the proposed change would not require school systems to buy new textbooks that omit the word.

But Georgia's curriculum exam, the CRCT, will be rewritten to align with the new curriculum. And the state exam is the basis for federal evaluation, which encourages schools and teachers to focus on teaching the material that will be tested.

A year in the works

The revision of Georgia's curriculum began more than a year ago as an attempt to strengthen the performance of students by requiring greater depth on essential topics. The new curriculum will replace standards adopted in 1984 that have been criticized by many educators as shallow. The state Board of Education is expected to vote on the revised curriculum in May.

The Georgia Department of Education based its biology curriculum on national standards put forth by a respected source, the American Association for the Advancement of Science. But while the state copied most of the national standards, it deleted much of the section that covers the origin of living things.

A committee of science teachers, college professors and curriculum experts was involved in reviewing the proposal. The state did not specify why the references to evolution were removed, and by whom, even to educators involved in the process.

Terrie Kielborn, a middle school science teacher in Paulding County who was on the committee, recalled that Stephen Pruitt, the state's curriculum specialist for science, told the panel not to include the word evolution.

"We were pretty much told not to put it in there," Kielborn said. The rationale was community reaction, she said.

"When you say the word evolution, people automatically, whatever age they are, think of the man-monkey thing," Kielborn said.

Pruitt could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

Cox released the state's proposed new curriculum on Jan. 12 and invited comments on all subject areas for the next three months from parents, teachers and students. She described the new curriculum as world-class and said it provides clear direction to teachers for the first time on what will be expected of students.

Backlash a result

The biology revision was eagerly awaited by a strongly organized network of scientists, university professors and classroom teachers. Several teachers and professors say they are pleased the state adopted large sections of the national standards, which include a strengthened explanation of the nature of science, the function and structure of cells and genetics.

But the treatment of evolution prompted a backlash. More than 600 Georgians, including professors and teachers, by Wednesday had signed an online petition challenging the curriculum as misguided.

If Georgia approves the revised curriculum, the state will be among six that avoid the word "evolution" in science teaching, according to the National Center for Science Education, a nonprofit organization that advocates for evolution instruction.

Many other states, including North Carolina and South Carolina, have adopted national standards that cover evolution in detail.

The word "evolution" itself is important because it is a scientific term, said Sarah Pallas, an associate professor of biology at Georgia State University. "Students need to know the language of science," she said. "They don't need to know euphemisms. It's just silly."

The proposed changes in the Georgia curriculum would leave students with tremendous gaps when they reach college, Pallas said.

"The students from other states always perform better in my classes, and that's a real indictment of the state educational system," the professor said. "North Carolina, another very conservative state, adopted all of the benchmarks. If they can do it in North Carolina, why can't Georgia do it?"

Debate over how and whether to teach evolution has divided communities and states for years.

In metro Atlanta, the Cobb County school system became the center of national attention in 2002 after it placed disclaimers about evolution in science textbooks and adopted a policy that could have allowed discussion of alternate views in science class.

The Cobb superintendent defused the dispute by issuing guidelines for teachers that told them to stick to the state curriculum" http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/met...m.html?sub=yes

I think it is rather absurd what some people want schools to teach about creation "science". What do you think about this and other attempts by school boards to co-opt evolution ?
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Old 01-29-2004, 05:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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No suprise....ever met a true georgian? They have been without evolution for quite some time.
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Old 01-29-2004, 05:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally posted by tecoyah
No suprise....ever met a true georgian? They have been without evolution for quite some time.
I know a few true Georgians. Believe it or not they are quite intelligent and know all about evolution. Should that be surprising?
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Old 01-29-2004, 05:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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So the change is to take out the word evolution and introduce "biological changes over time"?

While I find it a bit amusing, I have a degree in evolution and it really doesn't matter if you call it evolution or 'biological changes over time.'
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Old 01-29-2004, 06:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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As an elected official, Cox is catering to her percieved constituency, rather than attending tho the best interests of a large group of non-voters (the student population).

It should be an educator's goal to teach the student HOW to think, not WHAT to think. Cox is a failure in this.

There has to be a better way to populate school administative positions than general elections.
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Old 01-29-2004, 07:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Old 01-29-2004, 07:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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This goes well with "Teaching Abstinence Only stops teenagers from having sex!"
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Old 01-29-2004, 07:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally posted by Ustwo
So the change is to take out the word evolution and introduce "biological changes over time"?

While I find it a bit amusing, I have a degree in evolution and it really doesn't matter if you call it evolution or 'biological changes over time.'
Hang on, I'm not a scientist but isn't 'biological changes over time.' kinda vague? I, as a male human went through a process of 'biological change over time' during puberty, that doesn't mean I "evolved". Maybe to be specific you could say, 'biological changes over time in the genetic composition of a population", but isn't that kinda flowery euphamism like the worst excesses of political correctness? Why mollycoddle them?

Anyway, I heard the Georgia school system was making the kids do a whole bunch of new science experiments. The students had to see whether exsanguination, leeches or saying the rosary was a better cure for the plague. Does their teacher weigh more than a duck? Their football teams aren't doing so well either, seems like their budgets were cut to make way for the new sports of 'bull-baiting' and 'dancing bears'.
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Old 01-29-2004, 08:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Hey, we already have a word for "biological changes over time." It's called evolution.

(/blatant Red v. Blue reference...)

Seriously though, science has reached a consensus that evolution is a pretty good explanation for what we see in the world, and at the very least, it's the best scientific explanation we have. The goal of science class is to teach kids about, what else, science. Evolution is science, therefore...aww who the hell am I kidding. It's Georgia. What do I know?
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Old 01-29-2004, 08:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Hey I think its pretty stupid too, but it won't amount to much.

Based on what I've seen of public schools in Chicago, I'd be happy if they knew the word biology.
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Old 01-29-2004, 08:36 PM   #11 (permalink)
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This just got me thinking.

As stupid as this replacing of evolution is, I don't find it any more offensive then the editing and distorting of American history done to text books by some shall we say 'left of center' educators.

Perhaps if the parents of Georgia could have vouchers they could pull they children out of such poor schools and send them to schools that taught evolution in all its glory
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Old 01-29-2004, 09:39 PM   #12 (permalink)
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that's too bad- their limiting the kids' minds and freedom to think.
I tell ya, I was more interested in learning evolution more than any other subject...oh, besides Drama.
But it doesn't make sense why, after all these years, someone has to get offended and ban it from other people, especially kids, so that they don't have that opportunity to know about it.
 
Old 01-29-2004, 10:29 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ustwo
This just got me thinking.

As stupid as this replacing of evolution is, I don't find it any more offensive then the editing and distorting of American history done to text books by some shall we say 'left of center' educators.

Perhaps if the parents of Georgia could have vouchers they could pull they children out of such poor schools and send them to schools that taught evolution in all its glory
You know the rules, keep it on topic.
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Old 01-30-2004, 04:05 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Completely retarded! We should also stop teaching history classes as well and just give tests based on the Bible. Dont just take one step, run the whole mile!
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Old 01-30-2004, 09:04 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Ustwo, what the hell is a degree in evolution?
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Old 01-30-2004, 10:55 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Evolution Banned

Clickie Linkie

Quote:
Georgia considers banning 'evolution'
Friday, January 30, 2004 Posted: 1511 GMT (11:11 PM HKT)

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."
Just sad...if the Government won't let teachers teach the correct term used to describe concept then how Science ever gonna "Buzzword"?
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Old 01-30-2004, 11:04 AM   #17 (permalink)
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*shakes head and walks away*

Ditto.
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Old 01-30-2004, 11:12 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Ustwo, what the hell is a degree in evolution?
EEE

Ethology, Ecology, and Evolution.

Field of study in biology.

Bachelor of Science

University of Illinois 1992
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Old 01-30-2004, 11:34 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Perhaps the representatives of Georgia enjoys making it a laughing stock?
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Old 01-30-2004, 11:46 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Well, its not "The Government" really. For now this is just a proposal by the state's school superintendent... but I am really hoping that at least 51% of the politically active population have some brains inside those thick skulls. I feel like I may be disappointed.

Fear of words is a symptom of ignorance. Combined with religious conservatism and voting, its a dangerous combination. And the kids are caught smack dead in the middle.
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Old 01-30-2004, 11:49 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I'm not sure how the United States government works but isn't education part of the government? At least it is in Canada
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Old 01-30-2004, 12:12 PM   #22 (permalink)
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The education system here in Ga sucks it's rated like #51 in the nation they need to stop worrying about things like this and start teching by the way I live in Ga and was born here
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Old 01-30-2004, 12:24 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by feelgood
I'm not sure how the United States government works but isn't education part of the government? At least it is in Canada
to some degree.. but then again there are alternatives such as private school.
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Old 01-30-2004, 12:26 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Sometimes Political correctness goes to far. What I don't get is how they teach the same concept but call it a different name actually changes anything?
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Old 01-30-2004, 12:37 PM   #25 (permalink)
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merged

merged two similar threads - carry on!
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Old 01-30-2004, 12:42 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Sorry bout that, should have done a search to see if there was another thread about the evolution issue
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Old 01-30-2004, 12:55 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Originally posted by Lebell
*shakes head and walks away*
Quote:
Originally posted by mml
Ditto.
*Joins the parade.*
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Old 02-01-2004, 01:49 AM   #28 (permalink)
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I laughed when I get to the part "biological changes over times" so funny!

Quote:
Originally posted by Lebell
*shakes head and walks away*

*cusses while walking*
*go find pictures of Kathy Cox on google.com, print it out, use it as dart target*
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Old 02-03-2004, 05:20 AM   #29 (permalink)
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This is crazy...I feel sorry for the students down there.
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Old 02-03-2004, 06:47 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Well, it's not just replacing the word "evolution" with "biological changes over time". The teachers will no longer have to teach the concept thoroughly at all.
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Old 02-03-2004, 07:48 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by tecoyah
No suprise....ever met a true georgian? They have been without evolution for quite some time.
Wow, way to make a blanket statement there....


I was raised in Georgia and while I do not agree with the public school system on a lot of issues (which is why my daughter is taught at home AND believe it or not she's a true georgian and placed in the top 2% of the nation in her last round of testing) but I will agree...children need to be taught both sides. I do not agree with the theory of evolution but that does not mean I do not want my daughter taught about it. She will have a lot easier time carrying on well thought out discussions on the matter when she has been well informed about both sides...then as she gets older its her CHOICE to decide which one she believes in. I think that not informing the kids about it does more harm than good.

In my opinion, children who are taught only one side of things tend to turn out very very biased about other people, their beliefs, and might just have a tendancy to make unwarranted judgements on a whole groups of people.
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Old 02-03-2004, 09:15 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Ever Hear of the Scopes monkey trial?

Or perhaps watch the movie "Inherit the Wind"?

Sounds a wee bit familar to me.....

*also joins the horde of headshakers but is making plans to leave the planet*
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Old 02-03-2004, 09:23 AM   #33 (permalink)
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bah, i'm sure that the supreme court will overturn this if they do pass a law like this.
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Old 02-06-2004, 07:29 AM   #34 (permalink)
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updated:

link

Quote:
Georgia school chief drops 'evolution' proposal


ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) --Georgia's school superintendent Thursday dropped plans to remove the word "evolution" from the state's high school science curriculum.

"I will recommend to the teacher teams that the word 'evolution' be put back in the curriculum," Kathy Cox said in a statement.

Cox said she originally wanted to replace "evolution" with the phrase "biological changes over time" to avoid controversy.

"Instead, a greater controversy ensued," she said.

The proposal drew widespread criticism. Former President Carter said it exposed the state to nationwide ridicule.

The proposed change was included in more than 800 pages of draft revisions to the curriculum posted last month on the Department of Education's Web site. The changes are scheduled to go before the state Board of Education for a vote in May.

"It was the right thing to do," said Gov. Sonny Perdue, a Republican, who had said he thought Cox should drop the proposed change. "As public officials, we don't have the luxury of thinking out loud; I believe that's what she was doing."

House Education Committee Chairman Bob Holmes, a Democrat from Atlanta, said Cox had little choice considering the widespread criticism the plan received.

"I'm glad she was responsive to the outcry, both by scientists and other political leaders who felt this was something completely unneccessary," Holmes said.

Some religious conservatives applauded Cox's proposal as a step toward teaching creationism in schools, while others said it changed little, since the concept of evolution would still be taught.

Cox, a Republican elected in 2002, repeatedly referred to evolution as a negative buzzword and said the ban was proposed, in part, to alleviate pressure on teachers in socially conservative areas where parents object to its teaching.

Under her proposal, the concept of evolution would have still been taught, but the word would not be used in the classroom. The proposal would not have required schools to buy new textbooks omitting the word evolution and would not have prevented teachers from using the word in class.
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Old 02-06-2004, 10:51 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Hmm...i think i could teach under that...I'd be a bit...umm...well, i'd be fired quickly, as i'd probably say something like, 'If you hear the word evolution from anyone else in any other state...except kansas, it means, "biological changes over time" not evolution...we used to say it meant evolution here in georgia, but we didn't want to offend..I mean, it's the same thing as "evolution" but i'm not allowed to tell you it's "evolution" got that...good"

i don't really think i've seen something this..just strange since...well, since kansas outlawed the teaching of either...

So at least georgia is a step ahead of kansas....

the only thing that really scares me is how broadly, "Biological changes over time" can be..Hell, i've had several biological changes over time since this morning..
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Old 02-06-2004, 04:47 PM   #36 (permalink)
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At a certain point I just get tired of dealing with ignorant people. It really pisses me off when people (more specifically politicans) let their religious beliefs interfere with how science is taught and how scientific research is funded. I am an atheist at a major university and I have a number of Christian friends who are in the sciences and they have no problems whatsoever with EVOLUTION. They just incorperate it into their belief system that their god started the evolutionary process. I can respect this way of thinking. What I CANNOT respect is when ultra-conservative politicans like this Kathy Cox lady shove their political agendas down the minds and throats of this nation's youth.
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"A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows us that faith proves nothing." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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Old 02-11-2004, 07:16 PM   #37 (permalink)
Americow, the Beautiful
 
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Location: Washington, D.C.
For the parade leaving the room/forum/planet:

http://objective.jesussave.us/creationsciencefair.html

At least have a good laugh while you shake your heads!
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"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
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Supple Cow is offline  
Old 02-12-2004, 02:54 PM   #38 (permalink)
Huzzah for Welcome Week, Much beer shall I imbibe.
 
Location: UCSB
Quote:
Originally posted by Supple Cow
For the parade leaving the room/forum/planet:

http://objective.jesussave.us/creationsciencefair.html

At least have a good laugh while you shake your heads!
I love the smell of good satire in the morning.
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I'm leaving for the University of California: Santa Barbara in 5 hours, give me your best college advice - things I need, good ideas, bad ideas, nooky, ect.

Originally Posted by Norseman on another forum:
"Yeah, the problem with the world is the stupid people are all cocksure of themselves and the intellectuals are full of doubt."
nanofever is offline  
Old 02-13-2004, 10:56 AM   #39 (permalink)
Tilted
 
They are planning on teaching Georgology, the natural science equivalent of ebonics!
tdoc is offline  
Old 02-13-2004, 10:59 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Ustwo- good to see you on this side of the this particular issue.
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