The Dixie County Advocate’s website is painful to navigate. But if you have the patience, you can venture to the Dec. 20 issue and see a column on page 12 written by Dixie County School Superintendent, Dennis Bennett.
The State is in the process of developing and approving changes to its science standards to follow Darwin’s theory of evolution. The standards that are approved by the State Board of Education would be taught in every grade level and tested in the eleventh and twelfth grades.
Darwin’s theory of evolution has been discussed in our school science classes for a long time as one theory of how organisms have developed over time. But the concern now is that the state is developing an “evolution exclusive” curriculum. Because we live in democracy, our schools have always been able to present differing ideas, concepts, and theories to generate open minded discussions to gather a wide scope of information.
Donna Callaway, a member of the State Board of Education sparked a fury of debate recently with her comments to a newspaper. She told the newspaper that evolution should be taught but not “to the exclusion of other theories of the origins of life.”
Many scientists agree that the theory of evolution has so many unanswered unproven questions that it can’t be proven. Many scientists say that Intelligent Design, another concept has merit and warrants discussion because organisms can’t develop unless they have all components for life in place and in order. There is intelligence in the design of all organisms. If you take any part of the design out, the organism does not develop.
Parents from Jacksonville recently traveled 200 miles to meet with the State Board, but were not allowed to speak. The State Board also declined to address the evolution education issue at that meeting.
What our district wants the public to know is once the State Board of Education sets the standards to be taught, schools will be expected to teach them. We know that many citizens are very concerned about this issue. The State Board of Education should hear from these concerns before they decide the science curriculum for the entire state. If you are concerned about the “evolution exclusive” curriculum being taught in our schools, you may contact the Florida Commissioner of Education at Commissioner@fldoe.org or (850)245-0605 or the State Board of Education Chairman, Willard Fair at (305)696-4450. For additional State Board of Education contact information, the website address is http://www.fldoe.org/board/.
The Dixie County School District website isn’t too advanced either. School board agendas and meeting minutes are not available there. Does anyone have some time to contact the school district to find out if they have acted on any of their superintendent’s beliefs concerning evolution?
For a comprehensive look at what counties and education decision makers are up to concerning evolution in the state science standards, see our “Those not in favor of good science education, raise your hand” post.