The Ohio State School Board decided Oct. 15 to adopt a science curriculum that includes critical analysis of the theory of evolution.
Earlier in the year, board members sought guidelines to treat “intelligent design, or the idea that a higher power must have designed life because it is so complex, the same as evolution, which is based on Charles Darwin’s research that life evolved by natural processes,” according to Associated Press.
The guidelines also included material that will be included in state achievement exams.
Some see the decision as a needed compromise.
“In no way does this advocate for creation or intelligent design,” Michael Cochran, a board member who pushed for intelligent design to be included in the standards, told AP. “I do look upon this as a compromise.”
Ohio Academy of Science head Lynn Elfner told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the decision was “obviously a political compromise.”
Others said the decision doesn’t really change much.
“The Ohio Board of Education’s academic standards committee simply put into writing what teachers already are allowed to do—teach students about evolution, including that there are competing ideas about how life originated and changed,” the Cincinnati Inquirer reported.
Ohio has become one of the last battlegrounds in the national debate over high schoolers learning evolution, “after conservative groups, including some that had tried and failed to get biblical creation taught in public schools, began pushing intelligent design,” AP reported.
Critics of intelligent design called it a version of “divine creation, which the U.S. Supreme Court has barred from being taught in public schools.”
Jodi Mathews is BCE’s communications director.