Kentucky schools will begin using the new Next Generation Science Standards this fall.
While controversial, supporters say the changes are needed to keep pace with other states and prepare students for college and careers. Critics, however, worry that evolution will be taught as fact, but Education Commissioner Terry Holliday says it will be considered as theory, and he says man-made climate change will be treated the same.
“If there are a lot of facts and data out there that say that the carbon levels in our atmosphere are man-made, but I think it also approaches from a scientific method, then students could look at both cases whether they agree with man-made or don’t agree with man-made, and see what facts support either position," said Holliday.
He adds the theory of evolution must be taught in high schools.
“Whether or not students agree with that scientific theory, that’s up to the individual student and their parents," said Holliday. "But the theory, the scientific theory is certainly expected on all exams: advanced placement, ACT, SAT, all freshman biology courses.”
The General Assembly tried to eliminate the new standards, but failed.
The standards, which incorporate all areas of science, were developed through a consortium of 25 other states and input from educators and scientists across the nation.
State assessments won’t reflect the new curriculum until spring 2016.