Not only did the politicians dictate to the schools that the faith-based dogma of "intelligent design" must be taught as science, but they redefined science to pertain to more than, um, science.
Supporters of the new standards said they will promote academic freedom. "It gets rid of a lot of dogma that's being taught in the classroom today," said board member John Bacon.
What this makes crystal clear is that John Bacon doesn't know what science is, because it's not dogma. In fact, the point of science is that dogma does not rule.
What Mr. Bacon's problem really seems to be is that his dogma is not being taught in schools.
The new standards say high school students must understand major evolutionary concepts. But they also declare that the basic Darwinian theory that all life had a common origin and that natural chemical processes created the building blocks of life have been challenged in recent years by fossil evidence and molecular biology.
In addition, the board rewrote the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.
The new standards will be used to develop student tests measuring how well schools teach science. Decisions about what is taught in classrooms will remain with 300 local school boards, but some educators fear pressure will increase in some communities to teach less about evolution or more about creationism or intelligent design.
"What this does is open the door for teachers to bring creationist arguments into the classroom and point to the standards and say it's OK," said Jack Krebs, an Oskaloosa High School math teacher and vice president of Kansas Citizens for Science, which opposes the changes.