From 1999 to 2007, the state went through a pattern of electing socially conservative members of the Kansas State Board of Education who would vote to de-emphasize or question evolution in state science standards. The international science community would condemn the standards, and the state would become the butt of jokes. Embarrassed voters then would elect new board members who restored the standards. Then voters would go back to sleep and the pattern would repeat. The current state standards, which reflect mainstream science, have been in place for five years. But board member Ken Willard of Hutchinson raised concerns this week that proposed new national standards describe evolution as a core scientific concept. To be considered one of the 26 lead states working on the Common Core standards, the board had to agree to give “serious consideration” to adopting the science standards, the Kansas City Star reported. But a socially conservative majority could reject them. It’s a warning for voters to pay attention in the August and November elections, when five of the 10 board seats will be on the ballot.
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