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Ohio Education Board strikes compromise on science. (Around The States).

After months of intense political debate, the Ohio Board of Education announced Oct. 15 that it will adopt a new science curriculum that allows local school districts to teach evolutionary biology and about the alleged "controversy" surrounding human origins.

The unanimous board vote approves a policy that will encourage public school science teachers to offer lessons on evolution, widely accepted around the world as the bedrock of modern biology, and information on why some critics oppose evolution. Teachers will not be required to follow the standards, but will have little choice because Ohio's new student achievement tests will be based on them.

The vote followed months of contentious debate on the issue. In 2001, after scrapping the state's old science curriculum--described by some researchers as "totally useless"--a committee of scholars and citizens prepared new science standards. While they were praised by educators, Religious Right activists and creationism advocates rallied political opposition to the standards because they lacked references to religion.

Board member Michael Cochran, part of the five-member panel that approved the new standards, told the Associated Press that he considers the new policy a "compromise."

Both sides are claiming at least partial success. Patricia Princehouse, a Case Western Reserve University professor with Ohio Citizens for Science, which opposes religious lessons in science classes, told reporters the new policy is appropriate.

"The standards are tremendous," Princehouse said, "and they don't open the door to intelligent design."

Meanwhile, James Dobson's Focus on the Family, which opposes church-state separation, also praised the new science standards, saying the policy represents a "hit" against evolution and "opens the door to a critique of evolutionary theory" that might include creationism.
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Publication:Church & State
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U3OH
Date:Nov 1, 2002
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