Education A National Roundup

District Primary Election Splits on Science Policy

By Sean Cavanagh — May 24, 2005 1 min read

The primary-election results for the school board in Dover, Pa., last week appeared to reflect divisions over a district policy mandating that students be introduced to “intelligent design” in science classes.

A crowd of 18 candidates in the May 17 primary competed to run for seven seats on the Dover Area School District’s nine-member board.

A slate of seven candidates, all of whom oppose the inclusion of intelligent design in science classes, earned enough votes to win spots on the ballot in the Nov. 8 general election. Those candidates will face seven incumbents, all of whom were also victorious, and all of whom are believed to support the 3,600-student district’s policy that casts doubt on Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

The Dover school board voted last fall to revise the science curriculum to require that students be made aware of “gaps/ problems in Darwin’s theory” and of “other theories of evolution, including, but not limited to, intelligent design.”

That decision, approved by a 6-3 vote, quickly emerged as a charged issue in the primary. The policy has drawn scorn from the mainstream scientific community, which regards intelligent design as a religious belief, not a legitimate scientific theory. It has also sparked a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union, which is seeking to reverse the policy.

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