When President George W. Bush signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act into law early this year, he came close to penning his approval to a provision that many scientists say would have opened the door to antievolution lessons in America's classrooms. Congress passed the new law, which overhauls federal primary and high school education mandates including testing requirements, after a joint conference committee resolved differences between House and Senate versions of the bill.

The Senate bill included a last-minute, nonbinding 'sense of the Senate' amendment that in part specified, "where biological evolution is taught, the curriculum should help students to understand why the subject generates so much continuing controversy, and should prepare the students to be informed participants in public discussions regarding the subject." Offered by Sen. Rick Santorum (R.-Pa.), the amendment received enthusiastic support from the bill's floor manager, Edward M. Kennedy (D.-Mass.) and other key senators. The...

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