Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pressure on board/another board member speaks out

According to Ron Matus, education reporter of the St. Pete Times, a group of influential parents went to the state board meeting today in Tampa to try and bend the board's ear. According to Kim Kendall: "(we) want to make it clear we are not advocating creationism, or anything that's illegal by Supreme Court ruling. (But) there’s a lot of different scientific data out there showing different things … Science told us forever that the earth was flat."

Apparently, even though they had some help from state Sen. Stephen Wise, they were not alloted official time to address the board. However, state board member Linda Taylor seems to agree with the strategy of teaching more than one "theory". According to her: "I would support teaching evolution, but with all its warts. I think that some of the facts have been questioned by evolutionists themselves. I would want them taught as theories."

Read that blog, the gradebook at http://blogs.tampabay.com/schools/2007/12/seeking-to-be-h.html

The state of Florida could use everyone's help in writing letters, sending e-mails, etc., so that the board members(& others) hear from those who advocate world-class science standards! (Click here for suggested template for letter)

Tallahassee Democrat guest editorial

Local musician Reed Mahoney gives his reasonable take on evolution and religion:

" Simply put, we must draw the line at that which we can accept through observation, and keep it separate from that which we must accept through faith."

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Good column in P'cola News Journal

In "Evolution Debate Heading Here", Bill Kaczor of the Associated Press talks about the standards process, with some illustrative quotes:
from "activist" Kim Kendall: "They're being very dogmatic. They do need to continue to teach evolution, but they need to allow the teachers to teach both the faults and the supports of evolution."
That strategy evolved out of the Dover case, according to FSU's own Michael Ruse: "Arguments for inserting skepticism, rather than religious concepts, into evolution lessons emerged after a federal court ruling nearly two years ago struck down the teaching of intelligent design in Dover, Pa., biology classes," said Michael Ruse, director of Florida State University's program on the history and philosophy of science. "
And FSU science education professor Sherry Southerland chimed in as well:
"We're not talking about crazy, wacky stuff," said Sherry Southerland, associate professor of science education at Florida State University. "This is the fundamental science the rest of the world learns."

Click on the "sample letter" link at the right if you care to get involved and write a letter...

More evolution/sci standards in the news...

Interesting recent columns re: evolution in FL papers:
Howard Troxler of the St. Pete Times discusses how he would treat ID and evolution in the classroom:
" I would say, check out the religion of your choice, if you choose one. And if you don't, and don't believe that, that's fine too - this is a public school, and we are not taking sides here.
...Now we come to the unrelated "evolution" part of the science curriculum, and here is what I would teach:
No matter how the world came into being, as best we can tell, life here on Earth has changed over long periods of time.
It's a fact. We know it. We have dug it up. We have taken a good gander at it. Lots of guys who looked kind of like us, but who weren't us, used to walk around. Lots of old stuff is gone. Lots of new stuff is here. "
Fred Grimm of the Miami Herald laments the political influence on the standards process, citing these remarks last week from the Republican house leadership:

"And the specter of political interference was resurrected last week. Republican House leader Rep. Will Weatherford of Wesley Chapel told the St. Pete Times, ''I'm not a scientist, but I will tell you in general, evolution is one of the theories,'' said Weatherford, who added that portraying evolution as ``more important or more accurate than the rest, I'm not so sure I'm in favor of that.''

Deirdre Connor of the Times-Union discusses the "evolving fight about the standards, including parental reaction in the Jax area.

If you feel inclined to have your voice heard, click on the link at the right....

Thursday, December 6, 2007

St. Pete Times Article

Ron Matus of the St. Pete Times has uncovered some interesting views from many officials, including state board members:

"Besides Callaway, only one other board member, Roberto Martinez of Miami, has offered a clear position. He's in favor.

"I respect the people who have beliefs in creationism and intelligent design, but I do not believe it should be included as part of the science standards," he said.

Those ideas can be addressed in other parts of the curriculum, such as social studies, he said."

Another board member, Dr. Akshay Desai, wants to leave room to include ID:

Desai, a medical doctor, said he believes in Darwin's theory. But he also said he would not close the door on mention of creationism or intelligent design in the standards."


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

State Board Member to veto new standards?

State board member Donna Callaway has stated her opposition to the new standards. She bases it on her assertion that evolution is not the ONLY theory regarding origins, etc., that should be addressed in the classroom. Our view is that no, evolution is not the only theory that does the job, it's just the only scientific theory that is supported overwhelmingly by evidence. Intelligent Design, as revealed in the Dover trial, is not a scientific theory at all. Read for yourself about Donna Callaway's remarks, as given in the Florida Baptist Newsletter: http://www.floridabaptistwitness.com/8144.article

new draft of Science Standards gets better grade!

One of the Fordham Foundation's reports has given Florida's provisional standards a grade of B, and describes it as "a dramatic improvement."(previous grade: F) Read the whole press release over at the Florida Citizens for Science site: