Earlier this year, we covered an attempt by Arizona’s superintendent of Public Instruction to alter the state’s science education standards. Superintendent Diane Douglas seemingly directed her staff to edit a set of standards prepared by educators so that numerous mentions of the word “evolution” were eliminated. Climate change was later diminished in a similar manner.
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But since that time, the news has been almost uniformly good. Superintendent Douglas lost in a primary election to a fellow Republican, her edits to the school standards were rejected by the state school board, and a last-ditch effort to swap in educational guidelines from a religious college wasn’t even given serious consideration.
As we noted in our earlier coverage, Douglas has in the past suggested that schools teach intelligent design, which is the idea that life arose and diversified due to the intervention of an intelligent agent rather than evolution. It’s an idea that was generated for religious purposes, and its teaching has been ruled an imposition of religion by the courts. She has also misunderstood the status of a scientific theory in suggesting that it reflected the idea that our knowledge of evolution is uncertain. These beliefs seem to have motivated her intervention into the science standards.