Voter Guides II: “Both the strengths and weaknesses of evolution should be taught.”

A couple of conservative organizations recently released a new batch of voter guides for school board races in Indian River, Lee and Clay counties. In a previous post I highlighted voter guides for Lake, Marion and St. Lucie counties.

The Indian River County voter guide, issued by the group Florida Votes Values, doesn’t mention anything directly related to evolution. But the Lee County one does include this statement, which candidates are asked whether they support or oppose:

Amend DOE Curriculum Framework for Biology and Life Science to allow the teaching of life by intelligent design.

Five candidates “failed to respond,” one candidate is undecided, and one candidate supports that statement.

The Clay Family Policy Forum released a voter guide for Clay County. It includes the following statements, which candidates are asked whether they support or oppose:

Florida Statute FS 1006.31 mandates that all instructional materials adopted by school boards in the state be “accurate, objective, balanced and non-inflammatory”. New science textbooks adopted in February 2018 by a 3-2 vote of the Clay County School Board teach evolution exclusively

Both the strengths and weaknesses of evolution should be taught.

Evolution only should be taught.

Interestingly, not a single candidate stood up for evolution education, with some possibly going with the undecided or “chose not to respond” options instead.

Keep in mind that earlier this year, when the Clay County school board considered adopting new science textbooks, they engaged in lively debates about evolution in the classroom. Once board member said:

But my difficulty lies in the narrow scope as it relates to the theory of human and species origin in that the only theory mentioned is evolution. And all that is expected for students to know is its supporting evidence and none of its flaws. At best, this limited level of exposure for students to the highly contested views on the origin of life and species is negligent. At the worst it’s intellectually deceptive.

And the district superintendent said:

“In no way, shape or form do our textbooks or will our textbooks ever reflect evolution as a fact because the fact that our state standards does not allow us to do so.”

Read these blog posts for the full story:

I’ve encountered many people who don’t believe evolution education in schools is still an issue. They’re shocked when I inform them about all of the troubles we’ve had concerning this issue right here in Florida, right now in 2018. That’s why I write posts like this one. Everyone needs to know that there are citizen groups and candidates for office and actively serving politicians who certainly do think evolution education in our schools is a serious problem. They vote. They make important decisions. They pass laws. It’s the people who don’t think that it’s an issue who are allowing the vocal minority to undermine quality science education.

So, what I’m saying is: you can help support quality science education by simply casting an informed vote and educating others about the issues. Share this post widely.

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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2 Responses to Voter Guides II: “Both the strengths and weaknesses of evolution should be taught.”

  1. Pierce R. Butler says:

    That Clay County “guide” seems to follow the straight wingnut ticket: besides two questions on evolution, it also asks about abstinence-only sex [non-]education, “American exceptionalism”, and such way-beyond-school-board-purview issues as abortion rights, same-sex marriage equality, and – of course! – the Second Amendment.

    Presumably they ask about such things because they see school board seats as stepping stones to higher offices. We might have fun setting up a betting pool as to how long until the candidates they support try to make that jump.

  2. David Campbell says:

    Welcome to my world as a Clay County resident. I disagree with Pierce about these school board seats being used as stepping stones. The questions about the 2nd Amendment, any union contributions, abortion are merely to reassure the base about the candidates. You can’t be a conservative and get elected here. Conservatives are too liberal. I was surprised that there wasn’t a question about supporting Donald Trump.
    The evolution battle is ongoing. Teaching controversial material can be very dangerous for an annual contract teacher. They need all the support they can get.

    By all means, get out and vote and all FCFS supporters need to keep an eye on their local school boards. Religious conservatives are using a common playbook. They have lost in the courts and in (some) legislatures. Now they are going after local school boards.

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