Education A State Capitals Roundup

Michigan Revises Evolution Language

By Sean Cavanagh — October 17, 2006 1 min read

The Michigan state board of education unanimously approved revised academic standards last week that members say will more strongly emphasize the theory of evolution as the central scientific explanation for life’s development.

In approving the document, the eight-member board chose to revise the wording of the standards, called “content expectations,” in two places to remove the word “may” in describing the process of evolution, state education department spokesman Martin Ackley said in a statement. That previous wording may have wrongly implied that scientists harbor doubts about the theory’s validity, board members said in describing the changes.

The theory of evolution, almost universally accepted in the scientific community, says that humans and other forms of life evolved through natural selection and random mutation. Over the past few years, critics of the theory have sought in many states to allow other views to be taught in public school science classes. In particular, they have sought recognition for “intelligent design,” the belief that humans and other life forms show signs of having been designed by an unnamed creator, rather than having evolved through an unguided process.

A version of this article appeared in the October 18, 2006 edition of Education Week