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Critics Argue Common Core Repeal Could Lead To Creationism In Schools

Sep 8, 2014

New language in a bill to repeal the Common Core is under fire by an organization that advocates for the teaching of evolution.

For that group, the language is all too familiar. Ohio Public Radio's Andy Chow explains.

The National Center for Science Education says a bill in the House would clear the way for Ohio schools to teach creationism in the classroom. The legislation seeks to repeal the education standards known as the Common Core—which is currently being used around the state.

The center’s Glenn Branch says historically, the teaching of evolution has been under attack for years – first through the banning of the teaching of evolution outright and requiring the teaching of creationism in some form.

Branch: “And what we’re seeing here is the representative of the third wave requiring or encouraging to present evolution—to misrepresent evolution as though it were scientifically controversial.”

The bill used to say that the standards couldn’t “prohibit political or religious interpretation of scientific facts in favor of another.” That language was criticized so the co-sponsors of the bill—including Republican Representative Matt Huffman of Lima—changed it to say that nothing in the standards could be “construed to promote any religious or nonreligious doctrine.”

Huffman: “Now will there still be what I consider ‘fear mongering’ on that issue? Sure. Because you know the folks who are trying to keep something from happening—that’s their tool of choice.”

But Branch argues that the new language still makes it seem like evolution is not based on years of established science and research and is just a contested theory.

Branch: “You’re surely not going to see the scientific strengths and weaknesses of osmosis or photosynthesis being presented under the provision of the bill should it pass.”

Branch and other advocates for the teaching of evolution add that this kind of language has already been used in other legislation in different states—all to open up the possibility of teaching creationism.

The bill is still in a House committee—no word yet on when a vote could be scheduled.