Florida science standards evolving
We're betting that in the eyes of many scientists, Florida's much-maligned science standards have finally taken a quantum leap in the right direction. A draft of the proposed standards, unveiled by the Florida Department of Education last week, dubs Darwin's evolution theory one of several "big ideas" that will ground a student's understanding of science. That's in sharp contrast to the current standards, which were adopted in 1996 and don't mention the word "evolution." Creepers!
The current standards, of course, are chock-filled with other flaws, too, which is why the Fordham Institute gave Florida a big fat F two years ago. (See St. Petersburg Times story here. On the bright side, we weren't alone; 15 states got F's. On the dark side, two of them were Alabama and Mississippi.) Are the revised standards better? See for yourself here and then use that big cranium of yours to weigh in. The public has until Dec. 14 to comment.
No blog post on Florida, science instruction and evolution would be complete without a mention of Cheri Yecke, Florida's K-12 Chancellor. Critics feared Yecke would drag the standards back into the primordial ooze, given controversies over her position on the teaching of intelligent design at her former job in Minnesota (see stories here and here). So, could it be that the revised standards – assuming they hold up to scrutiny in coming weeks - actually vindicate Yecke? (Go ahead. Start chucking. We armored ourselves like Gulf sturgeon before we asked.)
- Ron Matus, state education reporter; Photo of Charles Darwin from Times files