In Arizona, an evolving battle over science standards

Idaho’s three-year battle over school science standards drew national media coverage — and now it might just be Arizona’s turn.

After three years of debate — and sometimes tense public hearings — the 2018 Legislature adopted a new set of Idaho science standards.

Arizona is looking at changes to its school science standards. As the Associated Press reported, state superintendent Diane Douglas has proposed changes to the standards’ references to evolution.

“What we know is true and what we believe might be true but is not proven and that’s the reality,” Douglas told KTVK-TV. “Evolution has been an ongoing debate for almost 100 years now. There is science to back up parts of it, but not all of it.”

In a statement to the Arizona Republic, Douglas said evolution would remain the standard taught in the schools; the standards contain no reference to creationism or intelligent design.

Idaho legislators wrangled over science standards until February, when the Senate Education Committee voted to adopt a series of standards written by a panel of teachers. The Senate kept the standards intact, overriding the House Education Committee, which voted to delete references to climate change and other language from the standards.

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