Kansas School Removes Evolution from State Competency Tests

The Kansas controversy began when the state school board voted to reject sections of a national standard issued by the National Academy of Sciences. Contrary to hysterical reports, the board did not ban evolution from the classroom. In fact, the new guidelines substantially increase coverage of the topic. The board merely decided not to include evolution in state competency tests-by implication, not treating it as fact beyond dispute.

  • Read this FAQ on the new 2005 Kansas Science Standards (adopted November 8, 2005)


2005 Update on Kansas Science Standards

On Tuesday, May 9, 2005, the Kansas State Board voted to submit a next to final version of the Science Standards to an outside agency for external review. This version of the Standards incorporates the changes that are described in a two page summary posted at http://www.kansasscience2005.com/ Draft_3_Changes_added_by_board.doc

The Changes reflect most of the proposals offered by the Authors of the Minority Report that were the subject of extensive hearings in May. Prior to the vote the Board was handed three documents regarding those changes:

  1. A critical Response to the changes adopted by a Majority of the Science Writing Committee on August 2, 2005. This is an important document because it states in writing the Science Establishment’s best shot at the specific changes. It is posted at: http://www.kansasscience2005.com/Response%20to%20Board%20by%20Writing%20Cmte%20August%202.doc

  2. A 20 page Reply to the Response authored by Dr. William S. Harris and Mr. Greg Lassey, on behalf of the Authors of the Minority Report, dated August 8. This document is also important because it explains why the Response is either absurd or otherwise inadequate. It is posted at: http://www.kansasscience2005.com/Reply_%20of_Authors_to_Response_of_%20Majority_%20080805.doc

  3. A two page summary of Harris/Lassey Reply, prepared August 9. It is posted at: http://www.kansasscience2005.com/Synopsis_of_Reply.doc

  4. The Reply reflects items covered in a preliminary reply dated August 2 and a seventeen page reply of Dr. Jonathan Wells to four issues raised by the Response. These documents, along with all of the others items mentioned above may be found at www.KansasScience2005.com.

The changes that have been drawing the most fire are provisions that would cause students to understand (a) that DNA gene sequences are not dictated by any known physical or chemical law, (b) that evolution postulates an unguided natural process that has no discernable direction or goal and (c) the scientific controversy over the origin of life.

The final vote on the Changes is expected at the October 11, 2005 board meeting.


December 2000 – IDnet Commentary and Proposed Revisions to Kansas Education Standards, Sixth Draft of Science Writing Team

On Februray 14, 2001 the Kansas State Board of Education voted to restore evolution as a central theory in science classes. Not only was evolution restored, but a worldview philosophy of naturalism is now being promoted in Kansas. This letter by the Intelligent Design network proposes changes to the standard that were not accepted. The letter, the response by the writing team, and the followup letter clearly illustrates the naturalism worldview statements being promoted by the Kansas State Board of Education. For further information on the Kansas Science Standards visit the IDNet website at: http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/ .


Related Articles

The Church of Darwin
Phillip Johnson. Reprinted from The Wall Street Journal, August 16, 1999.

The Sky is Not Falling: Did Kansas Ban Evolution?
Nancy Pearcey. Ever since the Board of Education voted to exclude evolution from state guidelines, handwringing articles have decried the "gutting" of education by "enemies of science." In this article from the Fall 1999 issue of Jubilee magazine, Pearcey clarifies the Kansas School Board decision.

Darwinism and Design
Jay Richards. Op/Ed from senior fellow and program director of the Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture. In this article from the Washington Post, August 21, 1999, Richards points out that this controversy is more interesting story than merely a creationist/evolutionist conflict.

Evolution Controversy Not Caused by Religious Fanatics
Mark Hartwig. Article written for Montgomery Journal, August 25, 1999.

Willful Ignorance of Evolution
New York Times Editorial on the Kansas Schoolboard controversy, August 13, 1999.

Teach Evolution and Ask Hard Questions
New York Times. Behe thinks the Kansas school board decision is a step in the wrong direction "Teach Darwin's elegant theory. But also discuss where it has real problems accounting for the data, where data are severely limited, where scientists might be engaged in wishful thinking and where alternative even "heretical" explanations are possible." August 13, 1999.

Debate over Evolution Hits Home in One County
Jim Sullinger. Article from the Kansas City Star, September 7, 1999. Jim Sullinger talks about the national spotlight being put on the town of Pratt, Kansas (population 6300), where a state biologist has asked two Pratt County school boards to add "intelligent design" as a supplement to the Darwinian theory of evolution.

Defying Darwin
Linda Gorman. Article from the Colorado Daily, September 7, 1999. According to Gorman "By differentiating between micro and macroevolution the Kansas Board of Education has made great strides in freeing school children from indoctrination with a religious dogma."

Dorothy, It's Really Oz: A pro-creationist decision in Kansas is more than a blow against Darwin
Stephen Jay Gould editorial in August 1999 Time. "Science and religion should be equal, mutually respecting partners, each the master of its own domain, and with each domain vital to human life in a different way."

Hugh Hasn't a Clue about Kansas
John T. Altevogt. Editorial from the Kansas City Star, September 7, 1999. Columnist Altevogt discusses the protrayal of the Kansas School Board decision in the media, calling their reporting a"campaign of hate and disinformation."

It's a Fact: Faith and Theory Collide over Evolution
George Johnson advocates equal time for evolution and creation in the New York Times Sunday Week in Review Section.

Ridiculing Kansas School Board is Easy, But it's not Good Journalism
Jonathan Wells. Op-ed which analyzes the texts of the various Kansas science standards. It was originally published in The Daily Republic in Mitchell, South Dakota, October 14, 1999.

The Politics of Evolution
NPR Talk of the Nation Broadcast August 16, 1999
Note: This is an audio file and requires Real Media Player to listen
Ray Suarez and guests discuss the politics of teaching evolution. Featured is intelligent design proponent Stephen C. Meyer, professor of Philosophy at Whitworth College.

Talk Back Live debate with Phillip Johnson and Eugenie Scott
Johnson and Scott debate the Kansas decision on CNN's TV talk-show with questions from the studio audience. Aired August 19, 1999.

Washburn Forum Roundtable Broadcast
On November 4, 1999, Washburn University sponsored a roundtable discussion in which nine expert panelists from the fields of law, science and philosophy exchanged views on the Kansas State Board of Education's decision to de-emphasize evolution teaching in the state's classrooms. A crowd estimated at 1,000 attended the gathering, which was in White Concert Hall on the Washburn University campus. A worldwide audience was able to hear the discussion on the Internet.