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The Maxine Singer Papers

Letter from Maxine Singer to Lawrence C. Davis pdf (77,896 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Maxine Singer to Lawrence C. Davis
Number of Image Pages:
1 (77,896 Bytes)
1999-10-04 (October 4, 1999)
Singer, Maxine
Davis, Lawrence C.
Original Repository: Library of Congress. Maxine Singer Papers
Reproduced with permission of the Library of Congress.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Biological Evolution
Exhibit Category:
The Science Administrator as Advocate
Metadata Record Letter from Lawrence C. Davis to Maxine Singer (September 14, 1999) pdf (151,032 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Box Number: 45
Folder Number: 4
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Subject Files, 1950-2002, n.d.
SubSeries: Boards and Committees
Folder: Kansas State Board of Education, decision on evolution, 1999
October 4, 1999
Dear Professor Davis:
Thank you very much for the interesting letter. I found myself agreeing with a great deal of what you wrote. In an op-ed piece I prepared for the Washington Post, I did indeed recognize that the public education system in Kansas was a very good one. The fact that it is better than that of many other states, and certainly much better than the near disaster we have here in Washington, made the decision of the Kansas State Board of Education even more regrettable. I hope you saw the op-ed piece which I know has been circulated in Kansas.
While I agree with a good deal of what you said in your letter, I do think it important for there to be outspoken public comment on the Board's decision. There are not many ways for the scientific community to make itself heard on the issue of the teaching of evolution. There are ways for the scientific community to express itself, but often these are not 'heard'. Whether we like it or not, public occurrences such as what happened in Kansas, make opportunities for press coverage that can reflect the scientific view. Similarly, Gary Conrad's letter soliciting suggestions for candidates, provided a timely opportunity to make a point, even recognizing that complex situations are not fully addressed by single, simplistic responses. Moreover, public criticism of what happened in Kansas at least alerts people in other states that the scientific community is watching and will try to ameliorate challenges to the teaching of sound science.
The high school text you mentioned using yourself in Pennsylvania, "Modern Biology", was, I think, the book known for having been "cleansed" of evolution. It is likely that I too used that book in my huge public high school in Brooklyn, though I don't exactly remember. And I went from Brooklyn to Swarthmore, as your wife did from Iowa. Not only that, but one of my daughters is a professor in the Math Department at Haverford! Coincidence is a wonderful thing.
With cordial regards,
Maxine F. Singer
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