Published by the American Geological Institute
of the Earth Sciences
Tuesday’s Republican primary will almost certainly tilt the balance of the Kansas Board of Education in November elections from conservative to moderate, and prompt a reversal of last summer’s decision to remove evolution from the state science standards. Regardless of the election results, no more than four conservatives will serve on the 10-member board.
Voters rejected three conservatives, who advocated present standards, in favor of moderates. This comes one year after the 6-4 decision to support standards that excluded evolution from state testing. These standards do not deny schools the right to teach evolution, but discourage it by avoiding questions on topics such as the Big Bang and the age of Earth in state testing.
Sue Gamble, a moderate Republican, defeated conservative board chairwoman Linda Holloway, capturing 60 percent of the vote. Holloway led the board in the writing the new standards last August. Moderate Carol Rupe unseated another conservative incumbent, Mary Douglass Brown, by a smaller margin. The third moderate to win nomination over a conservative, Bruce Wyatt, defeated Brad Angell.
Only challenger Roger Rankin, a moderate Republican, lost to a conservative, incumbent Steve Abrams. Conservative Patrick Hill ran unopposed, and will face Democrat Bill Wagnon, who campaigned for Gamble in the primary bid for board chair.