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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

More Florida Follow-Up

Two of the seven members of Florida's State Board of Education, Roberto Martinez of Miami and Dr. Akshay Desai of St. Petersburg, have come out in favor of the proposed new science standards, two weeks before the board plans to vote. Desai predicts the board will approve the new standards on February 19, but right now it looks like two members are leaning against them while the positions of the other three remain unknown or undecided. The proposed standards, which would use the term "evolution" for the first time, became the topic of conversation Monday when the board met to discuss and vote on class sizes. Northwest Florida Representative Marti Coley said her conservative constituents want to see evolution referred to as a "theory" in the revised standards. About half of those who commented on the standards on the Florida's Department of Education Web site "strongly disagreed" that evolution should be taught as a scientific fact (saying the "theory" should be taught alongside "intelligent design"), but scientists and Darwin experts, like Michael Ruse of Florida State University, say evolution, like gravity, is both a theory and a fact (and, in the case of Ruse, completely compatible with religious belief). —Heather Wax