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Explanation for the Boycott

May 12, 2005

A short explanation for the decision by the scientific community to not participate in the hearings:

The hearings were set up completely outside of the established process for revising science standards.

The standards revision committee has been working for nearly a year to evaluate and revise the standards. They have received expert advice and input from both the scientific and science education community throughout the process. The standards were posted for public and professional input and public forums were held around the state to obtain further input. Some of the best science teachers in the state were on the standards committee. When the committee was established the policy was set that any changes to the standards had to be by consensus, or if not, by at least a two-thirds majority vote.

The result was an excellent set of revised standards that were submitted to the Board. At this point the normal procedure would be to send the recommended standards out for external review.

However, the Board majority set them aside and supported another set of revised standards written outside of the process by an 8-member minority of the committee (the "Minority Report"). Those 8-members were all appointed to the committee by the anti-evolution members of the Board. The Minority Report was written through meetings that were not open meetings and were not conducted through the committee process or in accordance with open meetings law. The first Minority Report was not submitted through the commissioner's process. John Calvert founder of the ID Net, who took the lead in writing the minority report and pushing for the hearings, appointed himself and had no official standing. The Board members who voted for the hearings were the same individuals that had appointed the 8 members to the committee. The three, subcommittee members who are acting as jury for the hearings all hold anti-evolutionary views and publicly stated their support for the minority report before the hearings were ever held.

Thus the reasons that the scientific community has not participated are:

1) That both writing of the Minority Report, and the hearings themselves have occurred in violation of the procedure established for the standards revision,

2) That the scientific and science education community already has had extensive input into the standards and that input has been ignored in favor of the Minority Report, and

3) The hearings were not to inform the Board's decision as the position of the Board members had been publicly stated before the hearings were held.

The scientific community refused to give credibility to this process.