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Kansas headed for another debate over evolution

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is headed toward another debate over how evolution is taught in its public schools, with a State Board of Education member saying Friday that science standards under development are “very problematic” for describing the theory as a well-established, core scientific concept.

From 1999 to 2007, the state had five different sets of science standards for its schools as conservative Republicans gained and lost majorities on the board, which sets the guidelines. The debates attracted international attention — and some ridicule — before the latest standards, which reflect mainstream scientific views about evolution, were adopted five years ago.

Kansas is now among 26 states helping to draft new science standards alongside the National Research Council, with the goal of creating standard, nationwide guidelines. A first draft became public last month, and the Kansas board is scheduled to hear an update on Tuesday.

Education Commissioner Diane DeBacker said a final draft could be ready by the end of the year, and the board would then decide whether to make those standards the state’s standards.

But the decision may not be made until after the November election — in which five of the 10 board seats will be on the ballot.

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