Things are almost ready to explode in Kansas. As we reported in Kansas Creationism: Alive and Well in 2012, the Kansas State Board of Education is getting ready to entertain the world again, just as they did back in 2005 when they went all out for creationism (see Kansas Flashback: The Crazy Days).
The occasion this time around is the review of new science standards proposed by the National Research Council. The standards are being considered by Kansas and 25 other states, and are intended as voluntary guidelines to be adopted by all states for use in their public schools. But any consideration of science in Kansas is a risky business, and especially this time, because the proposed standards straightforwardly regard evolution as good science appropriate for the classroom.
The chance to comment on — and perhaps reject — the proposed standards offers the good folks of Kansas the same kind of opportunity that a full moon offers to a werewolf. And they’ve already started howling.
In our last post on this topic we mentioned that:
Board member Ken Willard, a Hutchinson Republican, said he’s troubled by the first draft of the proposed standards. … Willard said the draft embraces naturalism and secular humanism, which precludes God or another supreme being in considering how the universe works. He said he intends to raise the issue Tuesday.
At the website of New England Cable News (NCEN) we read: Kan. official wants evolution concerns considered. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
People who question evolution shouldn’t be treated as “crackpots,” and their concerns should be addressed seriously as states consider new science standards for public schools, an elected Kansas official said Tuesday during a preliminary discussion about the work on new guidelines.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Willard is already reaping national ridicule. NECN continues:
Ken Willard, a member of the Kansas State Board of Education, described a draft of proposed science standards as “flawed” because of how it treats evolution.
Some board members expressed surprise that the early work on guidelines would receive much public notice, especially with it being months before the board is likely to consider adopting the standards. But from 1999 to 2007, the state had five sets of science standards as conservative Republicans gained and lost board majorities, bringing Kansas international attention and some ridicule.
They’re surprised? Hee hee. Let’s read on:
Willard, a Hutchinson Republican, distributed a nine-page letter criticizing the draft multistate standards from the group Citizens for Objective Public Education Inc., which lists officers in Florida and Kansas. The letter suggested that the draft standards ignore evidence against evolution, don’t respect religious diversity and promote secular humanism, which precludes God or another supreme being in considering how the universe works.
We can’t find a link to Willard’s letter, but it doesn’t matter. We’ve all seen that stuff before. Let’s continue with the news story:
“I hope that it will be taken seriously and not as just information from a bunch of crackpots,” Willard said. “Anybody who deigns to take a questioning position regarding anything to do with evolution is pretty well named to be a crackpot or a kook of some sort.”
Oh, how unfair! Here’s more:
Board Chairman David Dennis, a Wichita Republican, said he’d like to have the board consider the new science standards by the end of the year. Under that timetable, the board would likely adopt evolution-friendly guidelines because Democrats and moderate Republicans, including Dennis, have a majority.
Ah, we see the problem. For the moment, the … uh, crackpots are out-voted. But next year may be different. Moving along:
Five of the 10 board seats are on the ballot this fall. Dennis and two other members aren’t seeking re-election, and those who are running again face contested races. Also, Willard, who doesn’t face re-election to the board until 2014, is running for a Kansas House seat. The board could have as many as six new members next year, and Dennis said the newcomers will have to catch up to months of information. But state Department of Education officials said the standards probably won’t be ready for a board vote until early next year.
This is delicious. It means that evolution will be the big issue in the Kansas school board elections. Kansas will once more be the intellectual center of the flat earth. Another excerpt:
Willard said: “Many people worry about being embarrassed, that Kansas is being embarrassed by asking questions, being inquisitive, about these matters. I think that’s just off the charts, because I cannot imagine somebody being embarrassed about trying to get the truth of the matter.”
Don’t worry about being embarrassed, Willard. Our readers need the entertainment. One more excerpt:
Joining Willard in expressing concern about the draft multistate standards was board member Kathy Martin, a Clay Center Republican who opted not to run for re-election this year. She said the draft “grieves” her because it contains “some ideology.” “It’s not objective,” she said.
Kathy Martin! Our joy is complete. Well, almost complete. She won’t be around next year. That’s okay. The battle for her seat should be fun. We’re confident that Kansas can find someone to replace her who will be just good. We’ll be watching.
Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.