Overview of what's happening with the Ohio
Science Standards, Proficiencies, etc.

 

 

The 12th Grade Proficiencies

On March 7, 2000, the Revised 12th Grade Proficiency test competencies were approved by the Ohio State Board of Education (SBE). Prior to this meeting, the wording the SBE presented to the public to comment on was this wording for the Proficiencies, and this wording for the Outcomes.

We were concerned that the wording for both did not provide for including any of the overwhelming scientific evidence that has been amassed against evolutionism. Prior to the March 7 SBE meeting, we submitted this suggested rewording for the 12th grade Proficiencies. We didn't have time to review the Outcomes so we did not submit any suggested rewording for them. Our suggested wording of the proficiencies allowed the theory of evolution to remain in the text, but provided the opportunity for opposing scientific evidence to be considered.

At the March 7, 2000 Board meeting, virtually all of our suggested rewording was ignored. In some cases, the wording approved by the board went from being veiled evolutionism to blatant evolutionism. This was a step backward for honest science. This is the final wording of the 12th Grade Proficiencies.

Permanent Standards

The 12th grade proficiencies the OBE approved on March 7 were passed in response to Senate Bill 55 (2000) . These proficiencies will go into effect in 2002, but will be used only until they're phased out and replaced by the new Common Expectations language. Currently, the Joint Council of the Ohio Board of Regents (OBR) and the State Board of Education are working on permanent wording that will replace the proficiencies just approved by the board on March 7. This is the Proposed wording of the Permanent Science "Common Expectations" that they're currently working on as of 4/3/2000. We just received these on 4/3/2000 and haven't had much of an opportunity to review them yet.

Our Goals

1. To have the pro-evolutionary language just approved removed from the temporary proficiencies, or include the kind of language we recommended that encourages opposing scientific evidence to be considered as well (we would prefer the latter).

2. To assure that the permanent wording being worked on now for the Common Expectations allows for opposing scientific evidence to the theory of evolution to be included.

3. To prevent the state's testing standards and proficiencies from being forced on private Christian schools and home schooler's.

4. Many Ohioans choose to home school their children or have them attend private Christian schools. Often, for both scientific and religious reasons, they choose to not have their children exposed to evolutionism in their curriculums. We support their right to do this. We want to assure that children who are taught this way will not have a more difficult (or impossible) time getting into any Ohio state-run or private Christian college because of their lack of training in evolutionism.

5. To get a board of education that is more sensitive to the concerns of the entire population of Ohio, not just those who have a philosophical bias of naturalism and materialism (where science standards are concerned). That means either getting far more members on the board who are sympathetic to our cause, or successfully persuading existing board members to support the kind of wording we're proposing.

If we are unsuccessful in any of the first four goals in our direct dealings with the Ohio Board of Education, the Joint Council or the Board of Regents, then we will seek a legislative solution to the problem. This means we will ask one or more legislators to introduce bill(s) that would address our concerns. We would consider other legislative options as well.

What you can do

When the board asked for public comments on the original wording (which used veiled evolutionary language), they received far more feedback from those who wanted the one-sided evolutionism language in the wording than they did from those who didn't. Here's a breakdown of the written comments they received:

Those supporting the competencies as written -- 14

Those generally supporting, but with some suggestions -- 4

Those suggesting revisions, specifically wanting specific reference to evolution, age of the earth and/or the "big bang" theory -- 18

Those favoring more specific reference to evolution, age of the earth, and/or the "big bang"theory, without offering suggestions for wording -- 72

Those expressing general concerns about the competencies, but offering no suggestions for improvement -- 4

Those opposing evolution and offering specific suggestions for rewording one or more competencies -- 2

Those opposing evolution, without suggestions for rewording -- 9

We know from the results of 50 surveys on creation versus evolutionism in the public schools that the numbers are actually far higher in our favor. What this means is that there are many thousands of people in Ohio who support our goals and Our Position Statement, but who have not yet expressed their opinions to the Ohio Board of Education. We are currently involved in an effort to get the word out. We need for you to help us get the word out. We also need you to send your written comments to the board. You don't have to write a book. A simple one-page e-mail, letter or fax will do. Use Our Position Statement as a guide if you are comfortable with what we are trying to accomplish. Visit our How to express your concerns to the OBE for more information on who to send your comments to.

Written comments to the board should be brief (about one page). If you have several points to make that could take several pages, send them as separate one-page e-mails or documents. Oral testimony should be no more than 5-minutes in length. Prepare a 2-minute speech as well in case there are too many speakers and the speech time for everyone is cut to 2-minutes. It is recommended that you read your speech from a prepared text, not try to wing it. You may have someone else read your speech for you if you are unable to attend. However, that person who reads your speech is limited to 5-minutes in total. If they want to also read their own speech, they're going to have to do your speech and their own within the 5-minute limit. If you read someone else's speech, you are required to leave a copy of the speech with the Board when you give it.

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