Arizona’s school board last week approved new science and history standards, capping a tumultuous few months of policymaking.
The final draft restores language related to the teaching of evolution and climate change, some of which had been removed or weakened in earlier versions of the science standards. Now, among other references, it requires students to “gather and communicate evidence on how the process of natural selection provides an explanation of how new species can evolve,” language that the Arizona Science Teachers Association had urged the board to restore.
Controversy erupted earlier this year when several teachers and administrators said that, during an “internal review,” the state education department significantly watered down portions related to evolution. Fears that the standards would contain unscientific ideas redoubled later when a creationist was among the group of people tapped to put finishing touches on the draft. Many attributed the changes to outgoing schools chief Diane Douglas, who has said she believes the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution should be taught in schools. But she denied being the force behind the revisions.
A version of this article appeared in the October 31, 2018 edition of Education Week as Arizona’s Final Science Standards Restore Evolution, Climate Change