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Officials defend school standards on evolution, creation

Posted: Friday, December 08, 2000

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- New academic standards that allow classroom discussions of creation as an alternative to evolution merely put in writing the freedom local school districts have always had on the subject, Pennsylvania state education officials say.

A draft of new state standards says science teachers should ''explain the mechanism of the theory of evolution'' to students by analyzing studies ''that support or do not support the theory of evolution.''

The ''do not'' language has drawn fire from some academics, while others applaud the language, saying it lets teachers present a fuller concept of how humanity came to be.

''Evolution is not a fact; it's a scientific theory,'' said Eugene W. Hickok, the state secretary of education. ''And because it's a theory, that means you have to test various hypotheses to support it or not support it.''

Americans United for Separation of Church and State warned that the standards ''open the door to religious indoctrination'' and could lead to lawsuits.

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Pennsylvania Department of Education: http://www.pde.psu.edu



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