July/August 2018 Church & State Magazine - July/August 2018

Evolution Standards Under Fire In Arizona

  Rokia Hassanein

A battle over the teaching of evolution is brewing in Arizona’s public schools.

Diane Douglas, Arizona’s state superintendent of public instruction, is proposing standards that wipe out all ref­erences to evolution from the state’s high school science curriculum. She has suggested replacing evolution with vague terms and phrases such as “biological diversity” and “how traits within populations change over time.”

Douglas told KTVK-TV in Phoenix, “What we know is true and what we believe might be true but is not proven and that’s the reality. Evolution has been an ongoing debate for almost 100 years now. There is science to back up parts of it, but not all of it.”

But advocates of sound science education are fighting back. The Arizona Daily Star in Tucson reported that during a public comment period, state officials received nearly 700 responses, and just about all of them expressed opposition to Douglas’ proposed changes.

Ariz. Gov. Doug Ducey (R) also pushed back against Douglas’ suggestions.

“Evolution should remain part of the science stan­dards for Arizona public high schools, despite what is being proposed by the state’s top school official,” Ducey said.

Arizona’s Board of Education will take up the matter later this year.

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