The "e" word banned in Georgia?

From: Roger G. Olson <>
Date: Sun Feb 01 2004 - 16:29:26 EST


A colleague of mine sent this to me yesterday.

Maybe there's some value to the idea -- afterall, words do matter.

Ga. Official Wants to Replace 'Evolution'

ATLANTA (AP) - The state's school superintendent has proposed striking the
word evolution from Georgia's science curriculum and replacing it with the
phrase ``biological changes over time.''

The change, which drew criticism from both liberals and conservatives, is
included in more than 800 pages of draft revisions to Georgia's curriculum
that have been posted by the Department of Education on its Web site. The
middle and high school standards are expected to be voted on by the state
Board of Education in May, after public comments.

Superintendent Kathy Cox said the concept of evolution would still be
taught under the proposal, but the word would not be used in the
curriculum. The proposal would not require schools to buy new textbooks
omitting the word evolution and would not prevent teachers from using it.

Cox, a Republican elected to the post in 2002, repeatedly referred to
evolution as a ``buzzword'' Thursday and said the ban was proposed, in
part, to alleviate pressure on teachers in socially conservative areas
where parents object to its teaching.

``If teachers across this state, parents across this state say, 'This is
not what we want,' then we'll change it,'' Cox said.

Educators and legislators criticized the proposal, saying science teachers
understand the theories behind evolution and how to teach them.

``Here we are, saying we have to improve standards and improve education,
and we're just throwing a bone to the conservatives with total disregard
to what scientists say,'' said state Rep. Bob Holmes, a Democrat.

Former President Jimmy Carter had harsh words for the change on Friday,
calling it an embarrassment and saying it exposes the state to nationwide

``As a Christian, a trained engineer and scientist, and a professor at
Emory University, I am embarrassed by Superintendent Kathy Cox's attempt
to censor and distort the education of Georgia's students,'' Carter said
in a statement.

Social conservatives who prefer religious creation to be taught instead of
evolution criticized the proposal as well.

``If you're teaching the concept without the word, what's the point?''
said Rep. Bobby Franklin, a Republican. ``It's stupid. It's like teaching
gravity without using the word gravity.''

Carter, a Baptist and Democrat who had served as Georgia governor before
he was elected president in 1976, said that existing references to
evolution in Georgia's curriculum have done nothing to damage religious
faith in the state.

Cox spokesman Kirk Englehardt said the superintendent was reviewing
Carter's statement Friday morning and did not have an immediate response.

On the Net:

Georgia Department of Education:

Received on Sun Feb 1 16:30:23 2004

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