Timeline: Evolution in the U.S. Public Education System [Updated Slide Show]

The history of the battle between creationist and evolutionary theories in the classroom
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Next year, Texas will start the process of considering new science textbooks for state adoption. Such books need to conform to state science standards, which in 2008 were rewritten at the behest of creationists on the state board of education to force their agenda on Texas science classrooms.....[ More ]


Following the "academic freedom" momentum gained with Louisiana's 2008 bill, Tennessee's state legislature is the latest to consider bills that would include new language in the state's education code encouraging teachers to discuss the "strengths and weaknesses" of the theory of evolution.....[ More ]

June 2008:

Governor Bobby Jindal signs the Louisiana Science Education Act into law. Marketed as supporting critical thinking in classrooms, the law threatens to open the door for the teaching of creationism and for scientifically unwarranted critiques of evolution in public school science classes.....[ More ]


Decision in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District rules that teaching intelligent design in the public schools is unconstitutional. The photograph at the right captures plaintiff Tammy Kitzmiller during a break from the trial.....[ More ]


Passage of the No Child Left Behind Act cements the importance of state science standards, which have become a new battleground between creationism and evolution (because inclusion of evolution in science standards increases the likelihood that evolution will be taught).....[ More ]


Of Pandas and People , the first book systematically to use the term "intelligent design" is published; it touts the notion as an alternative to evolution.....[ More ]


Supreme Court rules in the case of Edwards v. Aguillard that the Louisiana Balanced Treatment Act violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.....[ More ]


Louisiana passes the Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science in Public School Instruction Act. Also in the 1980s legislators in more than 25 states introduce bills calling for "creation science" to have equal time with evolution.....[ More ]


Supreme Court rules in case of Epperson v. Arkansas that laws barring the teaching of evolution in public schools are unconstitutional. Teacher Susan Epperson is shown at the left in 1966.....[ More ]


Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) is founded with funds from a federal government concerned about science education in the wake of Sputnik. BSCS’s textbooks emphasize evolution, which was largely absent from textbooks after the Scopes trial; commercial publishers follow suit.....[ More ]


Butler Act in Tennessee outlaws teaching of human evolution. Teacher John T. Scopes is prosecuted and convicted under the law, although the conviction is later overturned on a technicality.....[ More ]

Late 1910s and early 1920s:

As high school attendance rises, more American students become exposed to evolution.....[ More ]

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