Southeastern Section - 54th Annual Meeting (March 17–18, 2005)

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 1:00 PM


GORE, Pamela J.W., Science, Georgia Perimeter College, 555 North Indian Creek Dr, Clarkston, GA 30021 and BAILEY, Gregory L., Southeast Whitfield County High School, 1954 Riverbend Rd, Dalton, GA 30720,

In 2004, Georgia revised its state science curriculum, replacing the Quality Core Curriculum (QCC) with the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS). As a part of the revision, Earth Science instruction has moved to the sixth grade from the eighth grade. Some of the initially proposed changes, such as removing the word “evolution” from the standards, made national headlines in early 2004. As a result of the ensuing controversy, evolution was returned to the curriculum. The high school science curriculum will consist of only Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics, but there are plans are to add an Earth Systems course.

The new GPS will be implemented during the 2005-2006 school year. During a two year transition period, Earth Science will be taught in both 6th and 8th grades. As part of the transition, many sixth grade teachers will need to be trained in Earth Science. Nearly thirty school systems in Georgia have been awarded Math and Science Partnership grants by the GA State Department of Education to increase content knowledge of middle grades teachers. Several of these grants are earmarked primarily for earth science education. Whitfield County, GA, for example, is implementing a program to target sixth grade educators in earth science. A number of colleges in GA offer Earth Science content courses for teachers, including Georgia Perimeter College, which offers an online Earth & Space Science for Middle School Teachers course.

Geoscience education made national news again in Georgia in November 2004, when a lawsuit sought to remove a disclaimer sticker from science books in Cobb County schools. The disclaimer sticker states, in part, that “Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.” A judge will decide whether the disclaimers violate the principle of separation of church and state.

Starting in 2005, a new organization is forming for earth science teachers in Georgia, the Georgia Earth Science Teachers Association (GESTA). The GESTA will have its first meeting in Columbus, GA in February 2005.