A group of churches in Wyoming released a statement saying it endorses the Next Generation Science Standards, including the stance that evolution should be taught as scientific fact.
Wyoming officially blocked adoption of the common science standards in March. The backlash has been, at least in part, a result of the standards document’s language on evolution and human contributions to global warming. An Associated Press article linked Wyoming’s rejection of the standards to the state’s economic reliance on fossil fuels. The Casper Star-Tribune reported that some religious parents told the state board of education the standards presented an “‘atheistic’ worldview” by teaching evolution.
But the statement from the Wyoming Association of Churches—a group representing 10 Protestant denominations—presents a very different perspective from the religious community. It states:
“WAC believes that God gave us the responsibility to serve as stewards of the created order. Science, on the other hand, is not based upon a belief system but rather a field of study dedicated to the understanding of how the created order works. Therefore, WAC strongly supports the advancement of an education system founded upon 21st century evidence-based science standards, like NGSS, which encourage Wyoming students to think critically, and through greater knowledge, foster stewardship of the created order.”
Rev. Warren Murphy, a coordinator for the Wyoming Association of Churches and Episcopalian minister, told the Star Tribune, “It’s just a historical statement. ... None of us have any problems with understanding evolution, and it does not interfere with faith.”
I also recently received a press release from Christian Schools International, an organization that supports Christian schools globally, saying it had created a K-8 curriculum that ties the Next Generation Science Standards to Christian teachings.
“In a world where some consider science and religion to be opposing interests, this resource offers teaching strategies that will model ways to teach current science standards with a fully integrated Christian perspective, without compromising either faith or scholarship,” it says.
That resource won’t be out until spring 2015, but it will be interesting to see how it handles the evolution and climate change issues.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.