The Origins of Life

By: Alana Adams
By: Alana Adams

Last night the *Kansas Board of Education voted to adopt a new science curriculum for some state schools.
The highly publicized decision is the first in the country.

George Ochs, the K-12 coordinator for science curriculum in the Washoe County School District, says they have strict standards regarding the science curriculum approved each year and mandated by the state for schools throughout Nevada to follow.
"Science teachers are required to teach the scientific standards and the standards are very specific on what students should know and be able to do."

State standards require broad concepts about evolution actually begin in kindergarten with students learning to observe the world around them and try to sort things out in groupings.

Anne Hubbell, the seventh grade Life Science teacher at Sparks Middle School, says the teaching becomes more specific in her class.
"In my classrooms, it is integrated into the curriculum throughout the year and then ultimately we have a unit on evolution around January or February and it runs it's course about a week."

This August President Bush endorsed teaching intelligent design in addition to evolution, which supports the belief that the creation of the world is so complex it must have been created by a higher being.
Supporters of intelligent design say they are trying to offer alternative viewpoints, not pushing religion into schools.

This week's decision by the Kansas School Board brings even more attention to a subject that is frequently singled out in a school's curriculum.

Ochs says intelligent design is not taught at all in our schools.
"The problem with intelligent design is it brings in the fact that there is a higher being that created something that's unexplainable. Scientists create all their theories and laws without thinking in terms of higher beings, only observing the world around them."

The district says the curriculum, approved by the state board of education, does not allow for debate on this subject.
Teachers, like Hubbell, are to present material based on facts but, kids will always have questions.

"Not just in science, but in everything that they do. That's a part of their education too, to be able to question what they see in the world."

While the Kansas Board of Education moves forward with the decision to approve new science standards, voters in Pennsylvania removed all 8 state school board members seeking re-election because they, too, wanted to introduce intelligent design into the state's science curriculum.


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