Earth and space sciences, including scientific theories of biological evolution, should be taught in K-12 education

American Geophysical Union reaffirms and updates its position statements on K-12 science education and Earth history and evolution.

16 September 2016

WASHINGTON, DC—The American Geophysical Union (AGU) today released a revision of its position statement on K-12 science education, “Earth and Space Sciences Should be Taught in K-12 Education.” AGU also announced that it has reaffirmed its position statement on teaching Earth history and evolution, “The Scientific Theories of Biological Evolution and History of the Earth Should be Central Elements of Science Education.”

The K-12 education statement was updated to reflect new national teaching standards from The National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Achieve. AGU encourages school districts to incorporate the Next General Science Standards in developing teaching strategies. The biological evolution statement reaffirms that “scientific theories of Earth history and biological evolution are fundamental to understanding the natural world, are supported by extensive evidence, and are non-controversial within the scientific community.” These principles of scientific understanding must be central elements of science education.

As an organization committed to promoting discovery in Earth and space science for the benefit of humanity, AGU develops and maintains position statements to provide scientific expertise on significant policy issues related to the understanding and application of the Earth and space sciences.

“Just as scientific theories are subject to revision as knowledge and research grows, AGU’s position statements are regularly revisited to ensure they’re in line with current understanding,” said Jana Davis, chair of the AGU Position Statement Task Force. “As a leader in the Earth and space science community, it is important for AGU to be a strong voice for communicating accurate science to young audiences and inspiring young people to pursue advanced study of the sciences through early exposure to Earth and space science.”

The three-person panel that reviewed and revised the position statement “Earth and Space Sciences Should Be Taught in K-12 Education” included:

  • Aida Awad, Science Department Chair, Maine East High School, Past President, National Association of Geoscience Teachers
  • Anne Egger, Assistant Professor, Geological Sciences and Science Education, Central Washington University
  • Jennifer Saltzman, Director of Outreach Education, School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University

AGU’s position statement on K-12 education was first adopted in 2001 and its statement on Earth history and biological evolution was first adopted in 1981. Read the previous version of the statement on education. Read the new K-12 education statement here and the reaffirmed statement on Earth history and biological evolution here. Learn more about AGU position statements.


Notes for Journalists:  Margaret Leinen, AGU president, Jana Davis, chair of the Position Statement Task Force, and a subject matter expert on evolutionary biology will be available for comment. Members of the press should contact Caitlyn Camacho to schedule an interview.

AGU Contact:

Caitlyn Camacho
[email protected]