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AAAS Statement on the Kansas State Board of Education Decision on the Education of Students in the Science of Evolution and Cosmology
The American Association for the Advancement of Science deplores the recent decision by the Kansas State Board of Education to remove references to evolution and cosmology from its state education standards and assessments, thereby making central principles for the scientific understanding of the universe and its history optional subjects for science education. This decision by the Board is a serious disservice to students and teachers in the State of Kansas. To become informed and responsible citizens in our increasingly technological world, students need to study and judge for themselves the empirical evidence and concepts central to current scientific understanding. By the actions of the State Board of Education, Kansas students may be at a competitive disadvantage in their education and work environments. By discouraging teachers from using the best available knowledge of their profession related to the nature and history of the universe, the Board's decision will make it more difficult for Kansas to recruit capable and inspiring science teachers.
Recognizing that the State Board of Education decision is a serious setback for public education in the State of Kansas, the AAAS adopts the following resolution:
Whereas, it has never been more important for American citizens to achieve a basic understanding of contemporary science and technology; and
Whereas, the concepts and evidence inextricably linked to our understanding of the nature and history of the universe are fundamental to the basic education of all Americans; and
Whereas, learning succeeds best when teachers and students can explore, investigate, and criticize the fundamental concepts and ideas in science; and
Whereas, learning and inquiry are severely inhibited if teachers are placed in a position where they may feel pressured to alter their teaching of the fundamental concepts of science in response to demands external to the scientific disciplines,
Therefore be it resolved, that the AAAS urges the citizens of Kansas to restore the topics of evolution and cosmology to the state curriculum. AAAS stands ready to assist all concerned citizens of Kansas in securing the repeal of this damaging ruling by the State Board of Education.
Therefore be it further resolved, that the AAAS and others committed to educational excellence in science work aggressively to oppose measures that could adversely affect the teaching of science, wherever they may occur.
Therefore be it further resolved, that the AAAS encourages its affiliated societies to endorse this resolution and to communicate their support to the citizens and appropriate public officials in Kansas.
[Adopted by the AAAS Board of Directors, October 15, 1999.]