Alabama schools are getting new science standards for the first time in a decade. The state Board of Education voted unanimously today to replace old standards that some teachers say were behind the times the moment they were approved.
As evidence, they point to their students’ biology textbooks, many of which currently come with warning stickers that call evolution “a controversial theory.” The state’s old science standards say students should “wrestle with the unresolved problems still faced” by evolution.
“You might not accept it, but that doesn’t change the fact,” says science teacher Ryan Reardon, who isn’t a fan of the old standards. “Talking about evolution in a classroom is controversial, but there is no controversy about how all the organisms on the planet are related to each other.”
Reardon teaches at Jefferson County International Baccalaureate, one of the nation’s best public schools. He also helps write textbooks, and he and other science educators say Alabama’s old standards were dated and thin on evolution. Not so the new standards, which call it “established scientific knowledge.”
“We were really pleased to see that,” says Minda Berbeco, program director for the National Center for Science Education. She praises the shift to what she calls “a really positive, pro-science perspective.”
Alabama’s Science Standards Get A Makeover
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