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Promoting Excellence in Science Education
By Roberto Rodriguez
Thank you for your petition regarding the teaching of evolution in America’s schools.
States and local school districts are responsible for setting the academic standards that guide student learning in our schools. While it is not the role of the Federal Government to develop or approve specific school curricula, our government can and should support state and local leaders and educators as they prepare students for college and successful careers. That support can include financial aid to enhance educational opportunities for students; the creation of incentives for state-level reforms where they are needed; and support for research into the best ways to teach and learn.
When it comes to the important discipline of biology and its sister disciplines—including genetics, biochemistry, behavioral science, and medicine—there is no more foundational concept than the theory of evolution. There is broad scientific consensus on the theory of evolution, built on an enormous mass of evidence, from taxonomic comparisons of fossilized bones to molecular analysis of ancient and modern genetic material.
That said, our Constitutional freedoms of religion and speech—and specifically the fact that every American has the right to say and believe what they want about religion, the origin of the universe, creation, and evolution—is part of what makes our democracy so profoundly successful.
As an active participant in our democracy, you have the important role of voicing your opinion at every level of government. Your engagement in improving America’s education system can help encourage our schools to best prepare all of America’s children for the future.
Roberto Rodriguez is Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy