Wichita Eagle explains the problem
in Kansas, it’s the state science standards that are the problem, given that they now invite the teaching of supernatural explanations such as intelligent design.The standards give more support to schools that would teach creationism than schools and teachers who would stand up for honest science. The singling out of evolution for criticism and the inaccurate claims about everything from the fossil record to the origins of life all signal to school boards that evolution is problematic.
The problem is that it isn't. Evolution is, as the Eagle's editorial points out, "a bedrock theory underlying biology and other scientific disciplines." It is the Grand, Unified Theory of Biology, the sort of theory that Einstein spent his life searching for in physics, and that his disciples have continued to seek without success.
The Eagle's editorial board continues by saying:
The election promises to be a referendum on the conservatives' other dubious moves, including the appointment of a woefully inexperienced and divisive new state education commissioner, Bob Corkins, as well as ham-handed board efforts to micromanage local districts on sex education and other issues.They are right that this Board's errors aren't just scientific, nor are they all religious or political. In their "conservative" attempt to regulate sex ed classes, they trampled the concept of local rule – a deeply conservative principle. Hiring a buffoonish administrator for the schools, one who didn't know what was happening in education in the 21st century and who didn't have the expertise to do his job, wasn't just patronage for a conservative activist, it was poor governance.
It's encouraging that a strong field of well-qualified challengers is running, both in the Aug. 1 primary and the Nov. 7 general election.
These will be tough races, because the Intelligent Design Network and religious right groups are pouring money and misinformation into these campaigns.
That's also why Kansas voters need to show up and return some professionalism and pragmatism to state education policy.
Replacing the Board of Education should be everyone's goal, Republican or Democratic. Give to your favorite candidates.