A PETITION TO THE FLORIDA BOARD OF EDUCATION FOR ADOPTION OF REVISED PUBLIC SCHOOL SCIENCE EDUCATION STANDARDS.
WHEREAS: The current Sunshine State Science Education Standards have received an ‘F’ from the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation while the proposed revised standards have been graded excellent by one of the scientists who previously authored the report that gave Florida its failing grade.
WHEREAS: The revised standards address the scientific theory of evolution without equivocation or the introduction of nonscientific notions. Evolution is the central organizing concept that allows us to understand all biological sciences from medicine to forestry to entomology, and its principles are the theoretical basis that underlies major advances in all biological fields. Students must understand the current state of the science to be part of an informed citizenry.
WHEREAS: The economy of Florida requires the foundation of well educated citizens in order to compete and prosper within global competition. A solid grounding in the sciences is essential to providing a well educated labor force to the state’s employers.
NOW THEREFORE: We the undersigned urge the Florida Board of Education to adopt the revised Public School Science Education Standards as drafted by the duly appointed and authorized Department of Education Writing Committee.
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You can add a comment, so here is mine:
I was born in Florida, and I care about the state of science education there. There are two main things that I want to say about antievolution and science education.
First, antievolution is not based in science, does not represent an alternative scientific understanding of the evidence, and it specifically conveys a narrowly sectarian religious doctrine. It is disruptive of the tolerance towards diverse religious faiths, or the lack of them, that help maintain amity and civility in our country. We are fortunate here to have avoided the deadly struggles over doctrinal positions that are common elsewhere and that have left their stamp on history. Antievolution efforts include attempts to rewrite the operating principles of science by fiat, and this alone should be sufficient to demonstrate that its promoters are not working for the common weal, but are bent upon achieving their own aims without regard for anything but their own satisfaction.
Second, science education needs to incorporate those concepts that have accountability, that have been proposed, argued, tested, revised, and that have by the record of empirical investigation and substantial engagement of criticism convinced the scientific community of the worth of the concept in question. Evolutionary science has met that high standard, and antievolutionary attacks upon it have no such claim to legitimacy. Science education should not be weakened by spending precious class time on material whose inclusion only serves the purposes of evading those stringent standards of accountability, undermining the principle of science’s ability to wholly reject hypotheses that predict false consequences, and gainsaying well-tested theories without substantiating a basis for such attacks.
It can do no one harm to come to an accurate understanding of what science is, and what has been discovered and supported through the scientific method. Please adopt the new science standards as written by your domain experts and experts in science education, and avoid the error of capitulating to the demands of the antievolution movement that evolutionary science be “balanced” with material that sows broad distrust of scientists and findings in biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and geology.