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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Florida Follow-Up

The School Board of Highlands County will use its regularly scheduled board meeting tonight to consider a resolution that opposes how the state's proposed new science standards handle evolution. The resolution calls for science education to "include the multiple theories regarding the origins of the universe and life on earth" and to teach big-bang theory and evolution as "two of several theories in the study of science." (Back in December, the Polk County School Board in Florida faced much media attention and mockery after it was reported that some members of that board wanted to see "intelligent design" taught along evolution). Education Commissioner Eric Smith has announced there will be one more public hearing on the standards on Monday in Orlando before the State Board of Education votes on them February 19. The current standards mandate teaching "biological changes over time" (evolution, essentially), but don't use the term "evolution" specifically—and neither do teachers, according to what's believed to be the first survey of what happens in Florida classrooms when it comes to the topic of evolution. —Heather Wax