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Kansas in the 21st century


Works Progress Administration
Works Progress Administration

As Kansas prepared to enter the 21st century, it became the focus of a controversial decision in 1999 by the Kansas Board of Education to remove most references to evolution from the state curricula guidelines. Under those guidelines, the concept that evolution gives rise to new species would not be taught in Kansas schools, and knowledge of evolution would not be required in state assessment tests. The 6-4 vote in favor of the new guidelines resulted in a backlash against religious conservatives who supported the decision, and moderates regained control of the board in the 2000 elections.

The 2004 elections


But in the 2004 elections, religious conservatives opposed to the teaching of evolution again won six seats on the board. In November 2005 the board voted 6-4 for the state’s science curricula standards to teach that evolution is controversial. The new standards were opposed by leading scientists and scientific organizations, who argued that evolution is an accepted fact in science and is not controversial. In February 2007, however, a newly elected board rescinded the guidelines.

In January 2005 the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the legislature had not fulfilled its constitutional duty to fund kindergarten through 12th grade schools. The court mandated an increased amount. A special session of the state legislature was called, and ultimately $290 million in new money was appropriated. The new statute also required that 65 percent of the added state dollars be used in the classroom. Also in 2005 the Supreme Court ruled that the Kansas death penalty law was unconstitutional. That ruling is currently on appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States, which may rule on it in 2006. "Kansas" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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