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Education bill wording fuels evolution debate. (Science).

Does creationism have a place in science curriculum? Long a topic of heated debate at state and local levels, the overhaul of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 has made it a federal focus.

A day before the vote, Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) added to the bill: "Good science education should prepare students to distinguish the data or testable theories of science from philosophical or religious claims that are made in the name of science; Where biological evolution is taught, the curriculum should help students to understand why this subject generates so much continuing controversy, and should prepare the students to be informed participants in public discussions regarding the subject." The Senate voted 91-8 in favor of the bill. As of press time, the Senate and House of Representatives were discussing how to combine their versions of ESEA into one bill.

The American Geological Institute and other education groups believe the wording singles out evolution as a controversial theory and are working to have the provision removed or altered. David Applegate, government affairs director, calls it "a disturbing expansion of anti-evolution efforts into the federal legislature."

Bruce Chapman, president of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, says that those who oppose the wording "insist on claiming that critics of Darwinian evolution want to stop the teaching of Darwin's theory (which is not so) ... and that it is all part of a plot to smuggle religion into the classroom (not so again)." He says students should learn both Darwin's theory and its scientific criticisms.
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Author:Ezarik, Melissa
Publication:District Administration
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2001
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