The way it works in South Carolina, the state Board of Education and the state’s Education Oversight Committee have to agree on new educational standards before they’re adopted for the public schools to implement. On Monday night, the BOE adopted new science standards, which is all well and good… but the EOC refused to approve the following clause:
Conceptual Understanding: Biological evolution occurs primarily when natural selection acts on the genetic variation in a population and changes the distribution of traits in that population over multiple generations.
Performance Indicators: Students who can demonstrate this understanding can:
Analyze and interpret data, using the principles of natural selection, to make predictions about the long term biological changes that occur within two populations of the same species that become geographically isolated from one another.
Why wouldn’t they approve it? Ask State Sen. Mike Fair:
“Natural selection is a direct reference to Darwinism,” Fair said after the meeting. “And the implication of Darwinism is that it is start to finish.”Fair argued South Carolina’s students are learning the philosophy of natural selection but teachers are not calling it such. He said the best way for students to learn is for the schools to teach the controversy.
“To teach that natural selection is the answer to origins is wrong,” Fair said. “I don’t have a problem with teaching theories. I don’t think it should be taught as fact.”
Of course, there is no controversy to teach here. Fair is just trying to push his religion into the science curriculum because he doesn’t understand how the subject works.
It’s not the first time he’s attempted to block South Carolina students from being college-ready when it comes to science. The National Center for Science Education has a rundown of his previous attempts here.
I’m sure it’s completely coincidental that Fair’s district includes fundamentalist Bob Jones University.
For now, the evolution standard will go back to committee. Which, I guess, is what they do in the interim before Fair can screw it all up again.
(Thanks to Rhonda for the link)