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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Science standards, intellectual honesty



Count the president-elect of the Florida School Boards Association as another top school official with concerns about the state's proposed new science standards. Beverly Slough, a school board member in St. John's County in northeast Florida, voiced her concerns at Thursday's public hearing in Jacksonville (see the St. Petersburg Times coverage here.)

Echoing other critics at the meeting, Slough said she was not advocating the teaching of creationism or intelligent design, but thought that the proposed standards' embrace of Darwin's theory of evolution was dogmatic and intellectually dishonest. The standards should be flexible enough for students to "seek all points of view and draw their own conclusions," she told Department of Education officials. "I implore you not to shut the door on intellectual honesty and the ability of our children to explore other options."

Reached by The Gradebook this morning, Slough said there are too many "large gaps" in the fossil record to blindly support Darwin's theory: "Anybody with half a brain can see that natural selection takes place. But to make great leaps from a fish to a man ... the fossil record doesn't support all that." She also said evolution was as unproveable as creationism or intelligent design because "nobody was there when life began."

Slough said a "wording change" might be the solution - something that softened up the proposed standards' assertion that Darwin's theory is the bedrock of modern biology (which the vast majority of scientists agree that it is.) She also said she planned to raise the issue both with her school board and the Florida School Boards Association.

- Ron Matus, state education reporter

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:31am]


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