FHSU Faculty Senate dissociates itself from Kansas BOE science standards

In response to the Kansas Board of Education's 2005 Science Standards, Fort Hays State University's Faculty Senate recently passed its own statement of opposition and endorsed another.

At February's meeting, the FHSU Faculty Senate passed Resolution 05-02, stating that the senate does not support including intelligent design in state education science standards.

The Faculty Senate resolution reads:

In response to the recent decision to include Intelligent Design in the Kansas state science standards, the Faculty Senate of Fort Hays State University resolves:
It is the role and responsibility of the scientific community to assess the merit of the subject matter taught in the science classrooms of our public schools.
As such, the Faculty Senate of Fort Hays State University does not support the inclusion of material, such as Intelligent Design, which has so far failed to withstand scientific scrutiny based on rigorous and verifiable peer-reviewed research.

"We, as a Faculty Senate, feel it is important to have educational materials stand upon their own merits rather than be imposed by an outside agency," said Dr. Win Jordan, president of the Faculty Senate and assistant professor of accounting and information systems.

"We had asked our University Affairs Committee to develop a statement in response to the recent Intelligent Design controversy. The committee responded with our Resolution 05-02."

At the same meeting, the senate also endorsed a position statement by the Kansas Association of Teachers of Science, presented to them by Dr. Paul Adams, Anschutz professor of education and physics and a member of the KATS panel asked to distribute the KATS statement.

"As we reviewed the statement, we found it to be clear, well thought out, and compelling. We therefore agreed to endorse it," said Jordan.

The KATS position statement was released by the organization's Board of Directors. In a cover letter, board President David Pollock said, "The Kansas Association of Teachers of Science (KATS) is the largest science teacher association in the state of Kansas. The 18 elected board members represent elementary through college teachers. The following is the official position of KATS that was passed at the regularly scheduled board meeting January 21, 2006."

Pollock is a teacher at Hays High School, Hays USD 489.

The KATS response to the Kansas State Board of Education Science Standards 2005 reads:

Kansas Association of Teachers of Science response to the Kansas State Board of Education adoption of the 2005 Science Standards:
The Kansas Association of Teachers of Science (KATS) is committed to promoting quality science teaching and the scientific literacy of both students and citizens throughout the state of Kansas. Accordingly, the KATS Board of Directors rejects on both scientific and pedagogical grounds the 2005 State Science Standards approved by the Kansas Board of Education (KBOE). The 2005 Standards neither promote quality teaching nor the development of scientific literacy.
As the state-level affiliate of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), KATS is the largest organization in Kansas representing teachers of science. We offer our unhesitating support to teachers who continue to emphasize science teaching that parallels contemporary scientific understanding as it is practiced throughout the world as a search for natural causes.
By redefining science in the Kansas Science Education Standards, the KBOE is promoting intelligent design tenets that purport supernatural explanations as valid scientific theories. Given that the goal of the intelligent design movement includes replacing scientific explanations with theistic understanding and to see this design theory inappropriately imposed on our religious, cultural, moral, and political life; the KATS Board of Directors adamantly opposes turning Kansas science classrooms into theatres of political and religious turmoil blurring the Constitutional ideals of separation of Church and State.
Therefore, KATS resolves that:
--Kansas teachers of science should continue to teach science as it is practiced throughout the world, and not attribute natural phenomena to supernatural causation;
--Kansas teachers of science should explore with their students the extensive evidence for evolutionary theory and actively refute the so-called evidence against evolution, as outlined in the new science standards;
--The Kansas Association of Teachers of Science recognizes that the KBOE is exhibiting educational irresponsibility in ignoring mainstream scientific understandings by substituting its own religiously-motivated agenda;
--State assessments should not include items related to the disputed portions of the 2005 Standards, as these statements do not reflect the global view of the science community;
--The KBOE should reconsider the inclusion of non-scientific ideas about the origins and development of life in order not to damage the prospects for student admission to high-quality colleges and universities;
--The KBOE should be aware that their anti-science actions are in direct conflict with the recent Kansas Bioscience Initiative;
Be it further resolved, that the Board of Directors of the Kansas Association of Teachers of Science (KATS) does not support and disassociates itself from these Kansas Science Education Standards (2005) as approved by the Kansas State Board of Education and recommends continued use of the 2001 Standards for curriculum development and assessment.

"As FHSU Faculty Senate President," said Jordan, "I found both the resolution and endorsement of the KATS statement to be appropriate, even necessary, to help maintain the quality of education in Kansas."

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