CONTACT THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION REGARDING SCIENCE STANDARDS

The situation. Ohio's current draft science standards give dogmatic support to the teaching of biological evolution. No evidence critical of evolution or supportive of alternatives is mentioned. On March 11 the State Board of Education held a Panel Presentation on the biological origins issue. A very reasonable proposal to resolve the issue was made by Dr. Stephen Meyer, one of the panelists. This recommends a "teach the controversy" approach that calls for (a) teaching evidence for and against biological evolution, (b) teaching the disagreement over traditional vs. naturalistic definitions of science, and (c) permitting (but not requiring) teachers to discuss alternative theories, such as intelligent design.

Contact the State School Board. The period for "on-line" public comments on the draft science standards has ended. However, citizens may still send comments to the State School Board via mail, telephone, FAX, or e-mail: Science Standards, Ohio Department of Education, 25 South Front Street, Mail Stop 509, Columbus, Ohio 43215; phone toll-free (877) 644-6338; FAX (614) 466-0599; e-mail john.rochester@ode.state.oh.us. Ask the Board to support the March 11 proposal by Dr. Meyer, and to adopt the Modifications at www.sciohio.org.

Talking points. These are some talking point you might use. (Short letters or calls from your own perspective are best.)

The "teach the controversy" approach proposed by Dr. Meyer and incorporated into the Modifications at www.sciohio.org does the following:

1. It presents biological evolution with intellectual honesty.

2. It avoids conflict over traditional and naturalistic definitions of science.

3. It promotes academic freedom for teachers and critical thinking for students.

4. It generates interest in science education.

5. It aligns Ohio with the Santorum language in federal H.B. 1 ("No Child Left Behind" Act).

6. It maintains government neutrality on a matter (biological origins) that touches on religion.

7. It is consistent with the will of the people of Ohio as shown by recent Zogby poll results.

Model message. Develop your own message or use this simple model.

Dear State School Board:

I am concerned about the state's draft science standards that support an "evolution only" stance on biological origins. I urge you to adopt the "teach the controversy" approach proposed by Dr. Meyer and incorporated in the suggested Modifications at www.sciohio.org. This will lead to fair, reasonable, and objective standards in the biological origins area.

Sincerely yours, Ohio Citizen