Framework for national science standards includes a whole lotta evolution
Grab a seat and get some popcorn. The National Research Council just released its framework for science education - which will be used to develop what are essentially new national science standards - and it didn't shy away from evolution. From the life sciences section:
From viruses and bacteria to plants to fungi to animals, the diversity of the millions of life forms on Earth is astonishing. Without unifying principles, it would be difficult to make sense of the living world and apply those understandings to solving problems. A core principle of the life sciences is that all organisms are related by evolution and that evolutionary processes have led to the tremendous diversity of the biosphere.
There is diversity within species as well as between species. Yet what is learned about the function of a gene or a cell or process in one organism is relevant to other organisms because of their ecological interactions and evolutionary relatedness. Evolution and its underlying genetic mechanisms of inheritance and variability are key to understanding both the unity and the diversity of life on Earth.
We'll be watching to see if sparks fly. Florida, of course, has already been there, done that.
The state Board of Education, though dominated by appointees of Govs. Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist, managed in February 2008 to vote in new, evolution-embracing science standards. And they've been under scattered fire from lawmakers ever since.
The National Science Teachers Association likes what it sees in the NRC framework, which is attached below. (More background here.) The work has the "potential to bring about transformational changes in science education," the group said in a written statement.
(Image from newscientist.com)