State Superintendent Proposes Avoiding "Evolution" in School - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/29/04

State Superintendent Proposes Avoiding "Evolution" in School

A change could be coming to the classroom that's stirring up quite a debate. Georgia state superintendent Kathy Cox wants science teachers to stop using the word "evolution" in class. She wants them to replace it with the phrase "biological changes over time." The proposal is part of 800 pages of curriculum changes teachers are reviewing.

We spoke with a science teacher at Savannah Christian, who says the wording won't change the meaning of the lesson. It's a lesson that appears in almost every science text book in the country, and at Savannah Christian they don't avoid the subject.

"We teach evolution as a theory, a theory about how organisms change over time," life sciences teacher Bob Graham told us. "Just what it is, a theory."

Cox says it's a subject she wants to keep in the curriculum, but is suggesting the term change.

"I think she is substituting a word with a definition of a word, and it's like calling a bathroom a powder room or a lavatory a bathroom, it's still a bathroom," said Graham.

He says changing the title of a lesson won't change the lesson itself. "Again, this is just my opinion, but it sounds to me like you are just going to try to appease people who don't like the word," he said.

It's a word Graham says that will be hard to avoid once students graduate high school. "If any of these students go to college, their not going to hear 'changes that occur over time,'" he said. "They're going to hear the word evolution and have to be familiar with that."

If Georgia were to approve the revised curriculum, it would be one of only six states that avoids using the word evolution in lessons. The State Board of Education is expected to vote on the new expansive curriculum in May.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro, kangelastro@wtoc.com

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