Georgia official proposes striking word 'evolution' from curric

Saturday, January 31, 2004

ATLANTA -- The state's school superintendent has proposed striking "evolution" from Georgia's science curriculum and replacing it with the phrase "biological changes over time."

The change, which drew criticism from both liberals and conservatives, is included in more than 800 pages of draft revisions to Georgia's curriculum that have been posted by the Department of Education on its Web site. The middle and high school standards are expected to be voted on by the state Board of Education in May, after public comments.

Superintendent Kathy Cox said the concept of evolution would still be taught under the proposal and that the ban was proposed, in part, to alleviate pressure on teachers in socially conservative areas where parents object to its teaching.

Educators and legislators criticized the proposal, saying science teachers understand the theories behind evolution and how to teach them.

"Here we are, saying we have to improve standards and improve education, and we're just throwing a bone to the conservatives with total disregard to what scientists say," said state Rep. Bob Holmes, a Democrat.

Social conservatives who prefer religious creation to be taught instead of evolution criticized the proposal as well.

"It's stupid," said Rep. Bobby Franklin, a Republican. "It's like teaching gravity without using the word gravity."

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