State Board Unanimously Rejects Intelligent Design

On February 20, 2003 the West Virginia Board of Education voted to adopt new science standards developed over the past year. The vote to approve the draft standards without any of the changes proposed by supporters of "intelligent design theory" was unanimous. Evolution features importantly in the new guidelines, which are based on frameworks suggested by the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Opponents of evolution education, including local creation science organizations, the West Virginia American Family Association, and Intelligent Design Network (IDnet, based in Kansas) had objected to the proposed standards and attempted to convince the Board to make significant changes. IDnet in particular sent several very long letters to the Board. Two IDnet leaders presented an "Intelligent Design symposium" in Charleston and met or spoke several times with Board members and staff of the Department of Education. In the end, the Board decided not to make any changes in the draft standards.

Jody Cunningham, president of the West Virginia Science Teachers Association, commented after the decision: "In a courageous move the Board voted to reject all attempts by Intelligent Design Network to weaken our Content Standards. It was exciting to hear the Board give full support to the standards. They were not changed in any way. We were able to reject any attempt to weaken or even to insert a phrase that was not placed in the standards by the teachers of West Virginia."

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