Change to Science Education Standards Proposed in Ohio

Silencing Science Tracker

Change to Science Education Standards Proposed in Ohio

In February 2018, a member of the Ohio Board of Education, Sarah Fowler, proposed adding a “overarching content statement” new draft science education standards. The statement reads:

“Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation, based on observation, measurement, experimentation, analysis, hypothesis testing, and theory building, which attempt[s] to provide more adequate explanations of natural phenomena; however, scientific conclusions are necessarily based upon philosophical assumptions, especially those interpreting the past or future. The nature of science is to continually test and strengthen or rebut/refute existing understandings of natural phenomena.

The aligned assessment must state the philosophical assumptions upon which the expected answer is based.”

Critics have expressed concern that addition of the statement will undermine the teaching of evolution. They note that the reference to scientific conclusions being “based upon philosophical assumptions” reflects an idea that is central to the theory of “intelligent design.” That theory, which is unproven, asserts that the universe and living things were created by some intelligent entity and cannot have arisen through an undirected process such as natural selection. Supporters of the “intelligent design” theory assert that evolution is not scientific, but based on philosophical views, which are inherently antithetical to theism.

UpdateThe proposal was rejected by the Ohio Board of Education on a 2-14 vote. The Board subsequently voted to adopt the draft science education standards, which require the teaching of evolution.


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