Arizona Department of Education’s proposed science standards

A team of 100 science educators, parents, and community members spent more than a year crafting new science standards. The Arizona Department of Education made these controversial changes as part of an “internal review” to those well-reasoned standards. This sort of “internal review” is normally limited to typographical or grammatical issues, and it is reportedly unprecedented for the department changes to be so substantive.

Here are some of the changes that the Department of Education has proposed:

  • Editing a “core idea,” applying to all grade levels, by changing the sentence, “the unity and diversity of organisms, living and extinct, is the result of evolution,” to “the theory of evolution seeks to make clear the unity and diversity of living and extinct organisms.” (p.4). This change adds the word “theory” and states that the theory “seeks” to do something, suggesting that the theory of evolution is something scientists are just trying out on a whim rather than the solid body of accepted scientific theory that has been consistently proven true.
  • In the eighth-grade standards, deleting a statement that genetic diversity contributes to evolution. (p.42, 43).
  • Two subtle changes to the high school standard — where evolution is directly taught as a stand-alone topic. (p.69). First, replacing the word “evolution” with the phrase “biological diversity.” Second, the department proposes inserting the word “may” into the following heightened standard: “construct an explanation based on evidence that the process of evolution may result from natural selection.” These changes serve no purpose other than to suggest that evolution is not settled science, which it is.

Please contact the Arizona Department of Education today and encourage them to reverse these changes.

Freedom From Religion Foundation