Curriculum Commission Endorses Textbooks That Teach Evolution

Times Staff Writer

With little debate, the California Curriculum Commission endorsed proposed guidelines for science textbooks Friday that include controversial provisions requiring that evolution be treated as a “central principle” of science.

It took the commission only a few minutes to unanimously approve the 187-page document that for months had been the focus of a bitter battle between fundamental religious groups that wanted the guidelines to leave room for the inclusion of “creation science” in textbooks, and scientific and anti-censorship groups that wanted evolution treated as accepted fact.

Both sides said their attention will now turn to the State Board of Education, which will decide whether to reject, accept or revise the proposals. The guidelines will be used by publishers to develop new science textbooks to be used in California schools for the next seven years.

Within minutes of the commission’s decision, seven major organizations, including the National Science Teachers Assn., National Education Assn., American Federation of Teachers and the American Assn. of University Professors, urged the Board of Education in a joint letter to accept the recommendations.

“While showing deference to students’ religious beliefs, the framework makes clear that science content should not be diluted by sectarian belief,” the groups wrote.