MANHATTAN, Kan. - On July 23, 2012, over 50 people attended the Kansas Citizens for Science's candidate forum for the Kansas State Board of Education, District 6, at the Manhattan Public Library.
Candidates participating in the forum included: Usha Reddi and Carol Viar, Democratic candidates, and Deena Horst, Republican candidate. Harry McDonald, President of the Kansas Citizens for Science Board of Directors, served as moderator for the forum. McDonald solicited questions from the audience and after general introductory statements, began addressing the questions to the candidates.
The audience had a broad variety of questions: school finance, science standards, virtual schools, comprehensive health education, vouchers, and more.
Evolution and the state science standards quickly came up for discussion as many prominent professors from K-State were in the audience. With the retirement of Kathy Martin from the Board, who has been a proponent of creationism and intelligent design, many people in the district are concerned about what position her replacement on the board will take as one of the first issues the new board will face is the next generation of science standards.
All three candidates responded that evolution should be taught in Kansas schools, but the subtlety of differences in the responses seems to indicate that some candidates feel creationism, a theory that cannot be proven using scientific means, might still find a place in the Kansas curriculum.
Provided here is the complete recording of the introductions, questions and responses provided by the three candidates. The recording runs just under 1.5 hours.
I encourage voters in district six to take the time to listen to what was said in order to make informed decisions at the ballot box.