Science standards critics turn out in force
If turnout matters, chalk one up for opponents of the state’s proposed new science standards: They outnumbered supporters about 2-to-1 today in Orlando, at the last of five public hearings on the subject.
Speakers on both sides (more than 70 total) repeatedly raised the same arguments made at earlier hearings, and in thousands of comments posted earlier on the Department of Education Web site. Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith (left) and other DOE officials listened for more than four hours without offering comment. To read more about the hearing, read tomorrow’s St. Petersburg Times.
In brief comments during a break, Smith told The Gradebook he could not say, until he talked to Board of Education members, whether they would approve a request by opponents to speak for 15 meetings at next week’s meeting.
The current science standards, put in place in 1996, do not mention the word "evolution" and instead refer to "changes over time." The proposed standards say evolution is "the fundamental concept underlying all of biology and is supported by multiple forms of scientific evidence.
- Ron Matus, state education reporter