Just 24 hours from now, the Florida State Board of Education will meet to consider whether to the state's science education standards will evolve. The most heated issue, if you haven't figured it out by now, centers on Darwin's teachings on biological evolution.
Is it a theory with alternatives, a "scientific theory" (which supposedly differs from a regular old theory), or the basis of biology? The State Board of Education will decide - at least as far as Florida's curriculum is concerned.
What do you think the board will do?
- Side with the scientists. The scientific community is fairly unanimous in its support of the evolution standard as written. How could it hurt to say, We approved a science curriculum that scientists agree with?
- Side with the "alternative" seekers. Florida is a unique place with its own unique way of doing things. If so many Florida school boards, members of the public and even teachers agree that evolution needs some balance, how could they be wrong? Besides, some lawmakers have threatened to take action on this issue, anyway.
- Adopt some mushy middle ground that no one is really satisfied with, saying afterward, If everyone is equally unhappy, we must have found the answer.
- Pawn off the decision. The board has a brand new commissioner and K-12 chancellor on staff, folks the board hired to guide the state through some tough educational times. This qualifies as tough, right? So why not ask the hired guns for the final "advice."
- Punt. The board already has bent twice - once to allow public testimony after saying it wouldn't, once to offer the phrase "the scientific theory of" - so it's not entirely out of the question that it will table the whole issue for time to find a more "palatable" answer.
Then there's the matter of the final vote. What will chairman T. Willard Fair, mum to this point, decide? Will Donna Callaway, the first board member to oppose the standard - in a Florida Baptist Witness interview - stand firm? What about Dr. Akshay Desai, who along with attorney Roberto Martinez has said he will back the standard? Will they accept a "scientific theory" compromise?
Now's your chance. Make your prediction and be find out how good a guesser you are tomorrow.
(Image from the University of Plymouth Department of Psychology)