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EdWatch Calls for Academic and Balanced Science Standards

November 10, 2003

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

EdWatch, a statewide parent/citizen watchdog organization that represents 30,000 people across the state of Minnesota, is encouraging members of the academic science standards committee to focus the new standards on academic knowledge and avoid political agendas of unbalanced environmentalism.

The legislature repealed the Profile of Learning last May, and required that new standards be clear, objective and verifiable. EdWatch called on the committees to keep the new standards knowledge-based. "Concepts and abilities of inquiry cannot be developed without knowledge of facts," stated Dr. Karen Effrem, an EdWatch board member. "Science should be the study of what is true in nature."

Science Standards have been the subject of criticism by education groups. "Environmental science often presents a crisis approach in education that precludes a balanced discussion of the available data," said Effrem. "The new Minnesota science standards should avoid the political agenda that ignores the positive aspects of human development and activity."

Biological evolution will also be addressed in the new science standards. Comments from the statewide public hearings and those sent to the Department of Education on the new standards overwhelmingly expressed the public's expectation that Minnesota standards include data showing the significant problems with evolution as a theory for the development of life on earth.

The Santorum amendment, a section of the No Child Left Behind conference report, clarifies Congressional intent that all sides of controversial subjects such as evolution be included. The amendment states: "Where topics are taught that may generate controversy [such as biological evolution], the curriculum should help students to understand the full range of scientific views that exist and why such topics may generate controversy, and how scientific discoveries can profoundly affect society."

EdWatch (formerly the Maple River Education Coalition) will be present at Saturday's standards committee meeting to urge the members to incorporate the Santorum language into the Minnesota science standards as provided by federal guidance on the subject.

Contact information: Dr. Karen Effrem 763-458-7119

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