Greg Laden has an interesting post up about Advanced Plaement Biology courses in high school. Apparently, many creationist high school teachers are under the impression that they can develop biology courses that "teach the controversy" and still give their students advanced placement credits. According to the College Board, however, that is definately not the case and those biology teachers who think they can weasel in intelligent design or skimp on teaching evolution in an advanced placement course need to be put on notice:
From a College Board memo circulated to AP teachers:
The College Board, in consultation with its Science Academic Advisory Committee, would like to address recent public concerns pertaining to the theory of evolution as it is assessed in the course audit of Advanced Placement (AP) Biology. The objective of an Advanced Placement course is to provide students with a learning experience that is equivalent to a high-quality freshman college course. In order to meet this objective, such a course must present an accurate and modern description of its academic discipline. Therefore, The College Board endorses the consensus of those professional organizations (a few examples are listed below) that delineate the discipline of modern biology. In keeping with this consensus, the College Board must specify that, in order to meet the AP Biology Audit Course Requirements, the course must treat evolution as “the foundation of modern biological models and thought.” Furthermore, a biology course which purports to be “AP” cannot endorse as a scientific alternative any treatment of the origin and development of living things which conflict with the modern concepts of evolution as described by the aforementioned organizations. The College Board understands the deep and profound regard some students, teachers, and schools may have for such alternative explanations, and respects the right of private and religious schools to develop their own curricula. However, in allowing the designation of “AP,” The College Board is compelled to uphold the standards of the consensus of the community of professional biologists. [emphasis mine].
Greg considered this good news, as do I, but he had a couple of additional suggestions to strengthen the wording and prevent the intelligent design activists from cherry picking words to develop a Frankensteinian version that actually endorses teaching "the controversy" in AP classes. Regardless, I think the message is quite clear: if high school biology teachers are going to develop AP classes for their students, not only must they not include the non-scientific "alternatives" but the central theme of the class must be evolutionary theory.