The Kansas Science Education Standards

From: Susan Brassfield (
Date: Wed Jan 26 2000 - 11:12:46 EST

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    Here is an interesting tidbit I picked up from another creation/evolution
    discussion list. *Very* interesting reading! And, of course, it contradicts
    Stephen's claim that the new Kansas standards actually increased the level
    of science taught.




    For Immediate Release 12/10/99

          Creationists Secretly Authored Kansas Science
         Standards, Kansas Citizens For Science Members Charge

    Members of Kansas Citizens for Science (KCFS) have
    uncovered evidence that a Genesis-based creationist
    group led by Tom Willis, president of the Creation
    Science Association of Mid-America (CSAMA), was the
    primary author of alterations made to the science
    standards that were adopted by the Kansas State Board
    of Education in August.

    At the December Board meeting in which KCFS members
    Jack Krebs and Steve Case presented this evidence,
    Krebs stated, "Allowing the creationists to alter the
    standards in this way is a serious violation in spirit
    of the separation of church and state."

    The standards originally had been written over a
    13-month period by a statewide 27-member writing
    committee composed of scientists, educators and
    curriculum experts. At the August Board meeting, the
    Board subcommittee of Steve Abrams, Scott Hill, and
    Harold Voth claimed to have written the changes to the
    standards themselves, and, despite concerns expressed
    at the time, claimed that they did not use any outside
    sources for their
    work. At the recent SUA forum at KU, Mr. Hill said,
    "As the primary author of the compromise standards
    that were passed, I guarantee that it was not input
    from fundamentalist religious zealots that did the

    However, drawing on a document found on the website of
    Celtie Johnson, a primary organizer of the creationist
    group, Krebs and Case showed the Board that virtually
    all the additions made to the science standards in
    August actually came from a alternative draft of the
    standards written byTom Willis and his group, the
    Citizens1 Drafting Committee. This
    document, entitled Working Draft CDC/A8 and available
    contains, verbatim, 40 out of 42
    major additions to the standards made by the
    Abrams-Hill-Voth team. Draft A8 also contains
    information that shows that the document was revised
    at least four times on Tom Willis's computer, shipped
    to Dr. Abrams' computer and then returned to CSAMA.

    Neither members of the original 27-member standards
    writing committee nor the Board as a whole has ever
    seen this document. However, on their website the
    creationists take credit for their efforts, writing
    that their "citizens drafting committee had an
    unprecedented opportunity to assist the members of the
    Kansas School Board in the development of new Science
    Curriculum Standards.... The Citizens Drafting
    Committee prepared several
    drafts ofthe proposed Kansas Science Standards,
    eventually arriving at the Citizens
    Draft Committee A8 version."

    Earlier in May, BOE member Abrams had presented an
    alternative draft, Trial 4A, and implied that he was
    the author. However, WSU professor and creationist
    Paul Ackerman, in his recent book about the science
    standards, "Kansas Tornado," states that the draft was
    written at Tom Willis' house in Missouri, and that
    Abrams agreed to submit it under his name. Celtie
    Johnson's website says of this draft that it "is the
    early draft of the Kansas Science Curriculum which was
    assembled by the Citizens Draft Committee"

    Jack Krebs also presented information from other
    articles and public presentations that showed that the
    real reasons for the creationists' efforts are
    religious: they believe that evolution contradicts
    central tenets of their religion, and particularly
    their belief that Jesus
    died to redeem humankind from Adam's original sin.
    Krebs concluded "By eliminating
    all standards which contradict Genesis and by
    inserting many examples that bolster a creationist
    view, the Board has accommodated the religious views
    of these creationists at the expense of scientific
    knowledge that is considered essential and accurate

    On Dec. 7, Board voted 9-1 to send the standards out
    for independent review. This costly and time-consuming
    project, says KCFS member Steve Case, a member of the
    original 27-member writing committee, "merely prolongs
    the rejection of these standards and allows the board
    to divert attention from the fact that a religious
    right group secretly authored them."

    It is estimated that the independent review will cost
    $18,000 to $20,000.

    Kansas Citizens For Science is an organization
    composed of parents, educators, scientists, students
    and others who support the teaching of sound science
    in Kansas public schools. For more information, see
    the KCFS website at:

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    "Under the First Amendment, there is no such thing as a false idea.
    However pernicious an opinion may seem, we depend for its correction not on
    the conscience of judges and juries but on the competition of other ideas."
    - Justice Lewis Powell 1974


    For if there is a sin against life, it consists not so much in despairing
    of life as in hoping for another and in eluding the implacable grandeur of
    this one.
    --Albert Camus

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