Florida Next up on the Science Standards Block
The state of Florida, which received an 'F' from the Fordham foundation for its state science standards, is beginning the process of revising those standards. There are areas of concern as the State launches into the review and also some hope that the new standards will be much improved from the previous version.
The main concern is that the standards reach a higher level than the previous standards and that politically motivated groups like the Intelligent Design PAC doesn't try to move ID into the science curriculum. The current K-12 Chancellor of Florida, Cheri Yecke came from Minnesota where she was sympathetic towards creationism and Intelligent Design. The ID crowd here in Florida is fairly active and groups like Physicians for Surgeons for Scientific Integrity have been actively promoting Intelligent design around the state of florida. We also are home to two of the more active young earth creationists Kent Hovind and D. James Kennedy. Kennedy has suffered from health problems and Hovind is currently in jail for income tax evasion. Nevertheless, they both have a reasonable following and there are numerous young earth creationism/Intelligent Design supporters in the state.
On the plus side, there are several active citizens groups in the state including the recently formed Florida Citizens for Science and the Humanist Society of Florida who will be carefully watching the framing and writing of the new standards. It is also heartening to learn that the beginning of the process will also involve an information session including speakers from the Fordham Foundation who will explain why Florida got an F for its standards and the involvement of other "A" grade states in presenting their standards to the framers and writers of the Florida standards. We also have Law Professor Steven Gey (FSU) although he is also currently facing some health problems. Gey is a long time defender of good science and is leading scholar on religious liberty and free speech issues. Michael Ruse, philosopher and frequent pro-evolution debate expert is also at FSU. Lastly, Nobel Prize winner Sir Harold Kroto will also be involved in framing the Science standards.
There are many other proponents for good education and many proponents for pushing socio-political agendas like ID/creationism into the classroom. The fire is now lit in the state of Florida and we'll have to wait and see if it becomes a wildfire or merely a campfire. I think Florida has a good shot at avoiding the same sorts of problems that plagued Kansas and a few other states, but time will tell!