Alabama

04.04.2016

Writing on AL.com (March 31, 2016), Amanda Glaze denounced the recent decision of the Alabama state board of education to retain the "scientifically inaccurate and pedagogically inappropriate" evolution disclaimer affixed to biology textbooks in the state's public schools.

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03.15.2016

At its March 10, 2016, meeting, the Alabama state board of education voted to retain a disclaimer about evolution mandated for the state's textbooks, even though the new Alabama science standards describe evolution as "substantiated with much direct and indirect evidence." 

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Alabama state coat of arms, via Wikimedia CommonsIn September 2015, something amazing happened. It isn’t what we traditionally think of as ground-breaking or life-changing, but to millions of young people in one southern state, this will be the first step toward a new lens on science. What was it?

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09.21.2015

When the Alabama board of education voted to approve a new set of science standards on September 10, 2015, in which evolution was described as "substantiated with much direct and indirect evidence," the question arose: what will become of the evolution disclaimer in Alabama's textbooks?

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09.11.2015

The Alabama state board of education voted unanimously to approve a new set of science standards on September 10, 2015, according to National Public Radio (September 10, 2015) — and evolution is described as "substantiated with much direct and indirect evidence."

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06.05.2015

Alabama's House Bill 592 (PDF) died in committee in the Alabama House of Representatives on June 4, 2015, when the legislative session ended. The bill would have encouraged teachers and students to "debate the strengths and weaknesses of the theory of evolution in public schools across Alabama," reported the Anniston Star (May 7, 2015).

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05.08.2015

"Teachers and students could soon find themselves free to debate the strengths and weaknesses of the theory of evolution in public schools across Alabama if a bill introduced to the House this month becomes law," reported the Anniston Star (May 7, 2015), referring to House Bill 592 (PDF).

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05.06.2015

House Bill 592 (PDF), introduced in the Alabama House of Representatives on April 30, 2015, and referred to the House Committee on Education Policy, would undermine the integrity of science education in the state by encouraging science teachers with idiosyncratic opinions to teach whatever they pleased while preventing responsible educational authorities from intervening. Topics identified in the bill as likely to "cause debate and disputation" are "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, and human cloning."

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Alabama state coat of arms, 1876

In 1995, the governor of Alabama, Fob James, spoke before the state board of education, which was then considering a proposal to insert a disclaimer about evolution in all biology textbooks used in the state. In The Creationists (2006), Ronald L. Numbers primly writes, “The Republican governor, Fob James, who presided over the board, strongly backed the disclaimer, saying that he personally believed the biblical account of the origin of life to be true.” Randy Moore, Mark Decker, and Sehoya H. Cotner’s Chronology of the Evolution–Creationism Controversy (2009) is a little more vivid, writing, “During an appearance before the Alabama State Board of Education, Forrest Hood ‘Fob’ James ... ridicules evolution by slowly crossing the stage, beginning in a crouch and then ending erect.” By these accounts, it seems that historians have taken the speech in stride.

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