Ariz. Education Department strikes 'evolution' from science standards draft
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Arizona education officials have published a draft of revised science standards for the state’s K-12 and charter schools, deleting several references to evolution.

The draft standards, the state’s first update in 15 years, no longer includes some mentions of “evolution” or the word “evolve,” and edits wording in places to refer to it as a “theory.”

One line replaces “evolution” with “biological diversity,” while another adds the words “are believed to” to describe the impact of evolution, according to The Arizona Republic.

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Science teachers who drafted the revised standards said they were surprised that state Department of Education officials struck some of the language from the standards.

“This would be something I would definitely be incredibly uncomfortable with,” Amber Struthers, a teacher who worked on the draft, told 12 News. “It would be a huge missing gap in understanding core concepts in science.” 

National groups, including the National Center for Science Education and the Secular Coalition for Arizona, have voiced opposition to the changes.

Opponents have accused Arizona Superintendent of Public Institutions Diane Douglas of inserting her personal religious beliefs into the revisions.

Douglas said earlier this year at a political event that she believed intelligent design should be taught alongside evolution in schools.

Douglas said in a statement that her beliefs are “not included” in the new science standards.

The education department told The Arizona Republic the standards are not curriculum or instructional practices and they focus on core ideas regarding science and engineering that teachers can use.

The department is accepting public comment on the draft standards until May 28, and the State Board of Education is likely to vote later this year.