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December 30, 2005

Russell Schweiss
(850) 488-5394

Statement by Governor Jeb Bush Regarding Sunshine State Standards for Science

TALLAHASSEE — "A national debate is ensuing about whether evolution or intelligent design should be taught in science classes. Some confusion about my position on this issue has emerged in recent weeks.

"I am a practicing Catholic and my own personal belief is God created man and all life on earth. However, I do not believe an individual's personal beliefs should be the basis for determining Florida's Sunshine State Standards.

"The Sunshine State Standards, approved by the State Board of Education nearly a decade ago, establish the expectations for student achievement in our state — essentially what our students need to know when they complete each grade. The framework provides flexibility to school districts and teachers in designing curriculum, including what specific topics should be taught in each class.

"Within the next three years, the Department of Education will begin an open process to revise Florida's science standards. These standards need to be made more rigorous to ensure our children will have the knowledge necessary to successfully compete in an increasingly global marketplace. As Florida continues to raise the bar for education, I am confident our educators will rise to the challenge and establish standards that improve students' learning of science.

"Perhaps more importantly, we should encourage the vigorous discussion of varying viewpoints in our classrooms. A healthy debate of issues challenges our students' minds."