Kansas and Science Standards

Wednesday, November 9th, 2005

Standard 3 under Life Science of the new Kansas science standards goes like the following block. Those familiar with the writing of institutional academic standards will recognize the outcomes language. Read it this way:

The student:

understands biological evolution, descent with modification, is a scientific explanation for the history of the diversification of organisms from common ancestors.

The specified standards that accompany this go

1. a Biological evolution postulates an unguided natural process that has no discernable direction or goal.


f. The view that living things in all the major kingdoms are modified
descendants of a common ancestor (described in the pattern of a branching tree) has been challenged in recent years by:

i. Discrepancies in the molecular evidence (e.g., differences in relatedness inferred from sequence studies of different proteins) previously thought to support that view.

ii. A fossil record that shows sudden bursts of increased complexity the Cambrian Explosion), long periods of stasis and the absence of abundant transitional forms rather than steady gradual increases in complexity, and

iii. Studies that show animals follow different rather than identical early stages of embryological development.

Standards writing is a delicate process. One of the hardest things to do is to adhere to a standard for standard writing because the standards reflect a host of institutional values, expectations, and the realities of a given area of study. I believe that outcomes should reflect a respect for students. What I read in the above is an almost unbelieveable cynicism, ignorance, and disrespect for real debate.

Biological evo postulates unguided:

challenged in recent years

previously thought


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