Ala adds evolution requirement, climate study for schools

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Alabama is updating its science standards to require that students understand evolution and learn about climate change.

Educators say the new rules don’t require that students in the Bible Belt state believe in evolution or accept the idea that climate is changing globally.

But students will be required to understand the theory of evolution starting next year. And teachers will address climate change, which wasn’t a focus in the state’s previous, decade-old standards.

The state school board approved the new standards unanimously Thursday.

Director Steve Ricks of the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative says the new guidelines show the state is serious about teaching science.

The statewide course of study only sets minimum standards. Local school officials will still make curriculum decisions.

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