We, the undersigned faculty and professional staff of Kansas State University science departments, express our continued commitment to maintaining the highest quality science education for the children of USD 383 and Kansas. We are also concerned about the negative impact the Science Standards recently passed by the Kansas State Board of Education will have on our children, our community, and Kansas State University. We are especially concerned about the continued high quality of science teaching, and the continuing recruitment efforts to bring talented workers and educators to our community. We ask that you adopt the following resolution:
USD 383 endorses the following definition of science developed by the Kansas Science Education Standards Revision Committee on March 9, 2005, a definition consistent with that of all major professional science organizations in this country:
Science is a human activity of systematically seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us. Throughout history people from many cultures have used the methods of science to contribute to scientific knowledge and technological innovations, making science a worldwide enterprise. Scientists test explanations against the natural world, logically integrating observations and tested hypotheses with accepted explanations to gradually build more reliable and accurate understandings of nature. Scientific explanations must be testable and repeatable, and findings must be confirmed through additional observation and experimentation. As it is practiced in the late 20th and early 21st century, science is restricted to explaining only the natural world, using only natural cause. This is because science currently has no tools to test explanations using non-natural (such as supernatural) causes.
The Science Standards that use this definition will be used in science curricula in all appropriate USD 383 K-12 science courses.
USD 383 does not support the redefinition of science included in the Science Standards passed by the Kansas State Board of Education on November 8, 2005; this document changed the definition of science to allow non-natural (including supernatural) explanations of natural phenomena.
The reasons we urge you not support the Science Standards passed by the Kansas State
School Board that redefine science include the following:
1. Adoption of these standards will diminish the quality of science teaching in USD 383 and disadvantage our children relative to their peers in states that adhere to standard practice of science.
2. The Kansas State Board of Education standards have created enormous negative publicity, which threatens to compromise K-State and local business efforts to recruit and retain highly qualified professionals to the district.
3. The Kansas State Board of Education standards singled out evolution for criticism while excluding other scientific theories from such criticism. We think this is unfair and suggests there may be ulterior motives at work, such as the introduction of a particular religious viewpoint into the curriculum. In Kitzmiller v. Dover, a federal district judge has ruled actions such as this to be unconstitutional.
4. There is clear concern in all quarters that U.S students are falling farther and farther behind worldwide norms. It is highly predictable that students from other countries will gain even more on U.S. students as measured by achievement if we accept the modified definition of science recently adopted by the Kansas State Board of Education.
5. The changes made to the science standards are based on the utterly false belief that evolutionary science, and the scientific method itself, is based on an atheistic philosophy. Promoting this false conflict between science and faith erects unnecessary barriers to student learning, discourages many students from pursuing careers in the sciences, and perpetuates public misunderstandings of the nature and conclusions of science.