Teaching Evolution: State Standards Miss the Mark

In the United States, education is a sorely undervalued commodity. Its value is certainly trumpeted along the campaign trail, but the sad reality is this is nothing more than a platitude – the actual results legislators produce through enacted policy are distinctly unimpressive.
State standards for the teaching of evolution provide an excellent illustration of this point. At best, some of the standards are painfully convoluted. At worst, they are flat out wrong. This should be viewed as something of national travesty, but the ideological sensitivities of certain fact-averse communities block progress and obfuscate the issues at every turn.

The Girl with the Darwin Tattoo

Here are some state standards for teaching evolution in high school.

Idaho

Goal 3.1: Understand the Theory of Biological Evolution

9-10.B.3.1.1 Use the theory of evolution to explain how species change over time. (652.01a)

9-10.B.3.1.2 Explain how evolution is the consequence of interactions among the potential of a species to increase its numbers, genetic variability, a finite supply of resources, and the selection by the environment of those offspring better able to survive and reproduce. (652.01a)

Washington

9-11 LS3A Biological evolution is due to: (1) genetic variability of offspring due to mutations and genetic recombination, (2) the potential for a species to increase its numbers, (3) a finite supply of resources,and (4) natural selection by the environment for those offspring better able to survive and produce offspring.

Explain biological evolution as the consequence of the interactions of four factors: population growth, inherited variability of offspring, a finite supply of resources…

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