Creationist Power Play in Kansas

Today in Kansas the creationist majority on the state BOE brought an unannounced resolution, which they passed 6-4, that created a special Board committee to hold as yet unspecified hearings “to investigate the merits of the two opposing views [evolution and presumably some form of Intelligent Design/creationism] offered by the Kansas Science Curriculum Writing Committee.”

This action bypasses the established procedures already in place (the writing committee itself and the public hearings now going on), and gives the creationists a special forum to air there views. The resolution appointed Board chair Steve Abrams as well as Board members Connie Morris and Kathy Martin to the Hearing Committee. All are creationists, and Abrams was the Board member who secretly collaborated with the creationists back in 1999 to produce those infamous standards.

You can see the resolution itself at

The Board also voted to link to the ID/creationists minority report (which has already been voted down by the writing committee) on the state website here for public discussion.

And last the Board voted to table the decision to send the writing committee’s draft out for external review. The one bid for this was from McRel, a very reputable reviewer, and one which would undoubtedly give the committee’s draft high marks.

And, oh yeah, the commissioner of education announced his resignation. I imagine there is more to it than this situation, but just last week the commissioner gently chastised the ID contingent for working outside the process, and urged us all to follow proper procedures. Given the Board’s blatant use of their political power today to subvert that process, it would not be surprising if the prospect of working with this Board for the next two years was not very appealing to the commissioner.

Oh, I forgot this one: the resolution is going to set up a survey on the State Department of Education’s website to get the public views on this matter, and is going to publicize the number or respondents who support each view.

You are all invited to move to Kansas and help us out. We can use all the help we can get. :)