Kansas vs. Darwin.
Article Type: Video recording review
Subject: Video recordings (Video recording reviews)
Author: Batorsky, Roberta
Pub Date: 02/01/2011
Publication: Name: The American Biology Teacher Publisher: National Association of Biology Teachers Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Biological sciences; Education Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 National Association of Biology Teachers ISSN: 0002-7685
Issue: Date: Feb, 2011 Source Volume: 73 Source Issue: 2
Topic: NamedWork: Kansas vs. Darwin (Video recording)
Accession Number: 259466274
Full Text: Kansas vs. Darwin [DVD]. [c]2008 New Day Films/Unconditional Films. 82 minutes. http://www.kansasvdarwin.corn.

As science teachers know, each state is required to develop a set of science standards and benchmarks to help set the expectations for achievement for K-12 students and define the science requirements for course credits and high school graduation. In 2004, the updated version of the Kansas Science Standards was heavily contested by six members of the Kansas Board of Education who held that both the theory of evolution and supernatural explanations of life's origins should be taught in parallel to public school students. Shortly thereafter, public hearings were convened by the six minority members to determine the fate of the teaching of evolutionary theory in Kansas public schools. Although pro-evolution scientists had provided copious documentation to the board, they physically boycotted the public hearings under the banner of Kansas Citizens for Science (KCS). Minority members, with the aid of the Intelligent Design (ID) Network, provided expert witness testimony by ID scientists and other advocates for the teaching of supernatural and religious explanations for natural occurrences. A lone attorney representing the KCS cross-examined these pro-ID witnesses.

Jeff Tamblyn of Unconditional Films, in his DVD "Kansas vs. Darwin," has documented the KBE minority members' challenge to the theory of evolution in a riveting, personally frustrating (speaking as a biology teacher) and extremely entertaining video. Included with the video is a very useful three-lesson study guide with background for students that was written by Richard and Kenneth Bingham, both of whom have extensive experience in biology teaching, curriculum development, and teacher education. The study guide is intended to help student viewers identify the positions of the individuals involved (there is kind of a scorecard for this in the first lesson) and evaluate the credibility of both the anti-evolution arguments and the witnesses espousing them (lesson 2). Lesson 3 drills deeper into the conflicts and finds teaching points and opportunities for students to share their own positions on the teaching of evolutionary theory in the public schools. The authors have also conveniently suggested time allocations for classroom use of the DVD and lessons. "Kansas vs. Darwin" is guaranteed to provoke insightful discussions of a controversial issue that poses both potential and real threats to the independence of public education.

I recommend purchase of this DVD/study guide package by high school and college biology departments and schools of education in order to appreciate the issues surrounding the recent challenges to the teaching of the theory of evolution in the public schools in Kansas, Arizona, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, among other states. This DVD also offers compelling insights into the teaching of evolution in the public school system for science-education-certificate and graduate education students.

DOI 10.1525/a bt.2011.73.2.13

Roberta Batorsky

Adjunct Professor of Biology

Middlesex County College

Edison, NJ 08818
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.