More than 100 educators working to revamp the Arizona standards for teaching kids science were surprised by edits made by the Arizona Department of Education nixing the word "evolution."
Arizona's K-12 science standards were last updated in 2004. For this latest review, 110 science educators worked in committees for more than a year to produce a draft document that was submitted to the ADE.
The March 2018 draft was later released to the public showing the word "evolution" crossed out in several areas and replaced with phrases including "how traits within populations change over time" or "biological diversity." In other parts of the draft, the phrase "theory of evolution" is added.
"It's minimized and it really doesn't have the same effect when words are taken out," says Barbara Reinert, one of the science educators who worked on the draft standards. "In the science community, there's no more debate about evolution."
Reinert says she was also confused by added language that she says is inaccurate.
"There’s (sic) things in there talking about magnetic currents, and magnetism is not a current, it's a field," she explained.
An email from an ADE spokesman said Superintendent Diane Douglas would not comment on the draft science standards until "a more finalized and comprehensive draft" is ready to be presented to the State Board of Education.
Reinert is an academic coach and former science teacher with Scottsdale Unified School District. She participated in the 2004 standards review, and this time around, questions the level of transparency from the ADE.
"We never had an internal review," Reinert said.
She adds the draft edits were made during an internal review the ADE is now including in the standards process.
The draft is expected to go back to the educator committees for more work.
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