The Arizona Board of Education has voted to keep evolution in the state's science standards, rejecting an attempt by Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas to water it down.
Educators in the state have been grappling with the issue for months. Douglas, an elected Republican official who lost a primary election earlier this year, had proposed replacing the word "evolution" in the standards with vague terms. She even appointed a creationist to a working group that drafted the standards.
During a meeting in late October, members of the state board voted to reject Douglas' proposals. By a 6-4 vote, they agreed to restore references to evolution to the standards.
Douglas made a last-ditch effort to weaken the study of evolution during the meeting by proposing that the board adopt a series of science standards produced by Hillsdale College, a conservative Christian institution in Michigan. Douglas' proposal died when no member of the board would second it.
Phoenix New Times reported that Douglas was distraught. She called the standards "vague and incomplete at best, indoctrination at worst."
Members of the Arizona Science Teachers Association disagreed. While meeting in September, the group asked the board to reinstate references to evolution in the standards and keep out anything smacking of creationism.
During her time in office, Douglas made no secret of her disdain for evolution. "Personally, I absolutely believe that intelligent design ... should be taught alongside evolution," she said. "But the courts have
Douglas: No fan of evolution deemed that unconstitutional."
She called on Arizona public schools "to clearly define the strengths and weaknesses of evolution theory"--a common tactic among creationists these days.
On other occasions, Douglas demonstrated that she has a shaky understanding of evolutionary theory.
"Show me where any scientist has...