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Ohio Science Standards Don't Mandate Intelligent Design, But May Open Door

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Ohio implicitly opens door to teaching Intelligent Design
After a long controversy, an Ohio State Board of Education committee yesterday adopted new science education standards on the teaching of evolution. The debate had included such proposals as mandating the teaching of Intelligent Design theory along with Darwinian theory, but such suggestions have been off the table for some time.

The key change put forward by the committee yesterday was one sentence in the 10th grade standards: "Describe how scientists today continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory."

"What we're essentially saying here is evolution is a very strong theory, and students can learn from it by analyzing evidence as it is accumulated over time," Tom McClain, a board member and co-chairman of the Ohio Board of Education's academic standards committee, told the Associated Press.

But the language is still controversial. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that some scientists say it still opens the door to teaching supernatural theories, and they'll try to get the full state board to reject the committee's language.

"It's obviously a political compromise," Ohio Academy of Science head Lynn Elfner told the paper. "At this point, my board is divided on whether to accept this."

If the full board does accept the proposed standards as expected today, it will essentially shift the debate on whether and how to teach Intelligent Design theory to individual school districts. It wouldn't change much. As The Cincinnati Enquirer reports, "The Ohio Board of Education's academic standards committee simply put into writing what teachers already are allowed to do — teach students about evolution, including that there are competing ideas about ...

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