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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • How Saline schools teach 'change over time,' 'intelligent design'

  • The theory of evolution or “change over time,” as it is termed by the Illinois State School Board of Education, is required to be taught in all Illinois public high schools.
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  • The theory of evolution or “change over time,” as it is termed by the Illinois State School Board of Education, is required to be taught in all Illinois public high schools.
    The ISBE suggests that this subject be covered in early high school and requires that instructors “Describe processes by which organisms change over time using evidence from comparative anatomy and physiology, embryology, the fossil record, genetics and biochemistry.”
    This goal is stated in the Illinois Learning Standards for Science, part of the Illinois Learning Standards promulgated by the ISBE. It is however, left to individual school districts as to what grade level change over time is taught and as to whether or not the theory of creationism or intelligent design is presented or allowed to be presented as well.
    Change over time is the phrase which has been used by the ISBE to describe the theory of evolution since the late 1990s. Briefly, the theory of evolution can be defined as "The change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. This processes gives rise to diversity at every level of biological organization including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA." This theory was promulgated by publication of works on the subject by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace in 1858.
    The theory of intelligent design is a form of creationism which proposes that “certain features of the universe and living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.” This theory holds that "Certain biological features are too complex to be the result of natural selection." Proponents of this theory maintain that these features are evidence of design and believe the designer is the Christian deity. This theory was proposed in the late 1980s, primarily by members of the Discovery Institute, a politically conservative think tank based in the United States. Some believe this theory was developed to allow the theory of creationism to be adapted to allow it to circumvent the legal prohibition on teaching creationism in public schools.
    The position on teaching evolution of the high schools in Harrisburg, Eldorado, Galatia and Carrier Mills is fairly similar. All principals or superintendents contacted stated that the subject was required by the state and that the individual school covered the material in their curriculum. All principals or superintendents contacted also stated that they were not aware of any specific school board policy regarding the subject of teaching or presenting either theory, though the theory of change over time is a state educational standards requirement.
    At the Harrisburg high school, Principal Karen Crank stated that the theory of change over time was taught at the freshman to sophomore level in the science classes. The theory of intelligent design was presented as an "alternate belief system" and neither theory was given more emphasis as to validity.
    Page 2 of 2 - Galatia high school principal John Cummins says that Galatia has no specific grade at which the theory of change over time is taught, that the school follows the science curriculum and the subject is covered at the appropriate stage as the curriculum requires. Cummins added that because the school follows the approved science curriculum and that does not include the theory of intelligent design, that theory is not taught at Galatia high school.
    Eldorado Superintendent Ryan Hobbs relates that the Eldorado High School teaches the theory of change over time at the sophomore to junior level and that the theory of intelligent design is not presented to students. Science instructor Dianne Beasley said that in 15 years of teaching at Eldorado she has never had a student ask questions about creationism or intelligent design in class.
    Carrier Mills High School Principal and Superintendent Richard Morgan states that change over time is taught in Biology 1 and the grade that it is taught at depends on when individual students take Biology 1. This means that all students in the Carrier Mills-Stonefort district should have been taught about the theory of change over time by their junior year at the latest, most by the end of their sophomore year. Morgan added that he was unaware if the theory of intelligent design was being addressed by the high school science teacher.
    The high schools in our area all follow the ISBE guidelines on teaching the theory of change over time in the science classes in a similar fashion, according to administrators. Only Harrisburg presents the theory of intelligent design as an alternate view on how life on earth developed.
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