Sir — We appreciated your News story ( Nature 406, 552–553; 2000) about the role of scientists in restoring modern science standards to elementary and high-school classes in Kansas. We would like to point out, however, that our efforts, and the similar efforts of scientists in New Mexico, would have come to nought without the many non-scientists who were willing to devote hundreds of hours to this issue, and who were willing to drag us out of the laboratory.
The success of groups like Kansas Citizens for Science depends on the combined efforts of people with backgrounds in many fields, not just science, as well as support from national organizations such as the National Center for Science Education. When many are involved, the effort required from each scientist does not detract from research.
Despite the temporary debacle over science standards, Kansas is one of the highest-ranked US states in educational achievement. High expectations in science for high-school graduates can only make our job as educators and researchers easier. We urge readers to examine science standards in their area, then look for supportive non-scientists to help ward off attempts by creationists or other groups to bring religion into the science classroom.
Other signatories to this letter: Adrian Melott Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Kansas Robert Hagen Departments of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas Philip Baringer Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Kansas Patrick Ross Department of Biology, Southwestern College, Kansas Keith M. Ashman Physics Department, Baker University, Kansas