A debate about whether evolution and climate change should be taught in schools is raging in Kentucky. During public hearings last week, supporters and opponents of the Next Generation Science Standards argued about the standards’ teaching of the somewhat controversial subjects.
The standards, which were developed with input from officials in 26 states including Kentucky, are part of a push to standardize science curricula across the United States. Supporters say that the standards will help make students more informed, but some religious groups are upset because the standards treat evolution as fact and talk about the part that humans play in climate change.
The Kentucky Board of Education recently presented the standards to the state legislature for official approval, The Huffington Post reported.
"Students in the commonwealth both need and deserve 21st-century science education grounded in inquiry, rich in content and internationally benchmarked," said Blaine Ferrell, a representative from the Kentucky Academy of Sciences.
Matt Singleton, a Baptist minister, holds an opposite view.
“Outsiders are telling public school families that we must follow the rich man’s elitist religion of evolution, that we no longer have what the Kentucky Constitution says is the right to worship almighty God,” Singleton said. “Instead, this fascist method teaches that our children are the property of the state.”
An environmental geologist who supports the standards, Daniel Phelps, said that they are based on facts, not opinions.
"I've actually read this, unlike many of the people who have commented today," he said. "Everything is actually based on evidence — arguments from evidence are actually given priority in the Next Generation Science Standards."
The Kentucky BOE will be accepting written testimonies regarding the standards until the end of July.