Arizona Will Adopt New Science and History Education Standards

Arizona State Board of Education rejects anti-Evolution science standards for K-12.

The Arizona State Board of Education, after a massive outcry by teachers and parents in September, will adopt revised social science and history standards which promote the teaching of evolution. The protests concerned a state proposal to remove the majority of the references to climate change and evolution from the state science standards. As per the documents released by Department of Education, it is the aim of the department to impart increased depth to revisions standards, emphasizing more “three-dimensional learning.”

The process to oust an anti-science stand was a tough one. The State Board of Education in Arizona voted six for and four against the new science standards in the state. The standards were then revised as per the Arizona Science Teachers Association recommendations. The upgraded curricula restored concepts of common ancestry and speciation. Climate change also comes under its ambit. The last topic was previously deleted.

The revised standards include what is colloquially named "engineering design process." The latter puts emphasis on "three-dimensional learning." As per the revised social science and history standards, students will take advantage of facts to analyze the bigger picture. There are other changes as well. The emphasis now will be on financial literacy, where students will have two years of United States history in both fourth grade and fifth grade. Global history will also be taught over a period of two consecutive grades, during the sixth grade and the seventh grade. These revisions will be completely implemented within the 2019 to 2020 school year and adopted by charter and K-12 public schools all over the state. The subjects of social science and history were last updated in 2005. The science subjects were updated even earlier in 2004.

The vote was crucial to science teaching, and it was a final blow to Diane Douglas, the Public Instruction Superintendent, to compromise treatment of evolution in classrooms. The win is a notable victory for science in Arizona as Ann Reid of the National Center for Science and Education said that future Arizonians can only compete in the 21st century if they have an excellent grounding of climate change and evolution and understand how they affect humans as a whole. Douglas has lost her re-election bid as state superintendent of public instruction in the Republican primary. She will exit her office before 2018 ends. She has repeatedly said she believes in the intelligent design idea.

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter