Science Standards Evolving

TAMPA -

The Florida Department of Education is just about finished rewriting the state's science standards. It's taken more than a year and it's not been without controversy. The final public hearing in the process takes place today in Orlando.

Re-writing curriculum standards is usually an academic process. But, not when it comes to science standards in Florida that, to date, do not include the word evolution.

The new standards do require the teaching of evolution as the underpinning of biology. Some school boards and citizens are objecting. They want the word theory added.

Jonathan Smith is an engineer and director of Florida Citizens for Science, a group that formed after a national report criticized Florida's science standards.

Smith agrees evolution is a theory, but adds there's a major difference in the definition.

'The word theory in science isn't a guess or a hunch. It's a group of facts based on empirical evidence,' Smith says. 'It is a theory but not in the way a layman would think it would be.'

Smith was one of dozens of citizens, scientists, clergy and educators that helped frame the new science standards. On February 19th, the state board of education is set to vote on whether to adopt them.

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