TOPEKA, Kansas - Teachers and scientists affiliated with the Campaign to Defend the Constitution today admonished the Kansas Board of Education over its anticipated approval of new statewide science standards that encourage students to question the validity of evolution. The decision is being led by the Board’s conservative Christian majority and weakens the state’s science standards to allow the teaching of “pseudo-sciences” such as intelligent design.
The Campaign to Defend the Constitution (DefCon), a 25,000-member online grassroots movement to combat the threat posed by the religious right to American democracy, has launched a number of actions to protect science education from religious attack:
- New Flash Ad: Today, DefCon released a new online ad to highlight the discriminatory “values” that children are being taught by the religious right: the subordinate role of women, the Bible’s role in driving the public lives of our politicians, and the notion that all non-Christians are failures. View ad at: www.DefConAmerica.org/Zealots.
- Petition to School Board Chairman Steve Abrams: Today, DefCon is launching an online petition to encourage its members to email Kansas School Board Chairman Steve Abrams, asking him to uphold scientific integrity in Kansas schools.
- $200,000 Online Ad Campaign on Evolution: DefCon has an ongoing online ad campaign consisting of large buys on several major news Web sites. The ads highlight the threat the religious right poses to our children’s education and encourages readers to take action to prevent the erosion of science in their states.
- 5,000 Letters from Clergy, Scientists, DefCon Members to Governors: Over the last month, DefCon members, scientists, and clergy have sent over 5,000 letters to governors in all 50 states demanding that pseudo-sciences, like intelligent design, are kept out of science classrooms.
“I find it incredulous that Kansas might very well pass these standards. American children are consistently falling behind those of other nations in their knowledge and understanding of science. We will not be able to close this gap if we substitute ideology for fact in our science classrooms,” said DefCon advisory board member Francisco Ayala, former President of AAAS and current biology professor at UC Irvine.
Jack Krebs, a Kansas science teacher who sits on the science standards writing committee, expressed early outrage over the standards sent to the Kansas Board of education for approval:
“The revisions to the standards misrepresent, distort and even contradict mainstream science. They advance a narrow sectarian theological viewpoint, disguised as science, that abuse of the educational system. It is not the responsibility of the state Board of Education to decide what is and is not verified science.”
The Campaign to Defend the Constitution was launched four weeks ago and already has 25,000 members. Its Advisory Board consists of leading Americans from many walks of life including former ACLU Director Ira Glasser, former head of the National Institutes of Health Harold Varmus and former NARAL ProChoiceAmerica Executive Director Kate Michelman.
To view the ad and learn more about the Campaign to Defend the Constitution, visit: www.defconamerica.org.
Please contact Jessica Smith at 202-822-5200 x234 if you would like to schedule further interviews with: Kansas science teachers and science standards writing committee members Jack Krebs or Carol Williamson; Eugenie Scott, Director of the National Center for Science Education; or Francisco Ayala, former President of AAAS.