The battle over teaching evolution in the classroom and its impact in Oklahoma - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

The battle over teaching evolution in the classroom and its impact in Oklahoma

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Evolution critics claim victory in Kansas. The Kansas Board of Education approved new science standards that cast doubt on the theory of evolution. Now some folks are wondering how that could affect science classrooms in other states.

News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims explains where Oklahoma schools come down on the issue.

Oklahoma's science standards don't actually mention the word "evolution,” but that doesn't mean Oklahoma will be following the example of our neighbors to the north.

Once again the evolution debate has landed Kansas in the spotlight. The Kansas State Board of Education voted 6 to 4 to change its science standards to include scientific criticism of the theory of evolution.

In Tulsa, the debate over evolution has centered more on a display at the Tulsa Zoo rather than what's taught in classrooms. The News on 6 called several area school districts to see how they handle teaching evolution.

Spokespeople from Tulsa and Broken Arrow say they follow state science guidelines. State superintendent Sandy Garrett says those guidelines don't even mention the word "evolution." Instead they talk about biological diversity and gradual change over time. According to the Oklahoma Department of Education website, the biology end of instruction test does examine student's knowledge of natural selection, a founding principle of evolution.

The Kansas decision encourages students to question the theory of evolution and look at scientific criticisms of the theory. It doesn't endorse intelligent design, the belief that the universe is so complex it must have been created by a higher force, but it doesn't prohibit it from being taught either.

State Superintendent Sandy Garrett says in Oklahoma, it would be up to local school boards to decide whether to add theories like intelligent design to the curriculum.

So far, several Tulsa area school districts say there has not been a push from parents to change the way evolution is taught.
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