Saturday June 12 12:20 AM ET
Nebraska Education Officials Stick With Evolution
LINCOLN, Neb. (Reuters) - The Nebraska Board of Education Friday rejected an effort to broaden the science curriculum in state schools in a way that could have allowed classrooms to explore biblically based creation theories.
The board voted 5-3 to approve a set of new science standards that lists evolution as the only theory of the origins of the universe that will be presented to children.
Board member Kathy Wilmot had sought to broaden the language of the new standards to encourage schools to cover a ``variety of theories,'' which could include creation as well as other theories of human origins.
``Right now our standards only deal with one theory -- that is, evolution,'' Wilmot told Reuters. ``If we would have put a variety of theories in here for students to hear about, we would have had the most comprehensive, most effective science instruction possible.''
Writing the new science standards was fraught with controversy. Earlier this year, the Nebraska attorney general's office complained that the standards promoted evolution as fact rather than theory and could contradict students' religious beliefs.
Board members reworded the standards to take account of those concerns before approving the new version.
Nebraska's fight mirrors others that have arisen around the country with the growth of an anti-evolution movement.
Many in the scientific community charge that the movement is driven by a desire to promote religion in schools, but evolution opponents say evolution is a false theory that must be dispelled.
Kansas education officials are now trying to draft new science standards and will vote on the issue in July.