From our News Partners at WCBD-TV:

South Carolina biology teachers would be using a new standard for teaching evolution, after a joint education panel approved a change Tuesday. The joint committee of members of the Education Oversight Committee and state Board of Education passed the standard unanimously. It now goes to the full Education Oversight Committee on August 11th and, if it passes there, to the full state Board of Education on August 13th.

The standard is a compromise, after member Sen. Mike Fair, R-Greenville, wanted language calling for students to question the theory of natural selection. He voted for the compromise.

"Hopefully, they'll stimulate even more in-depth questions, which then will beg for some critical thinking to come up with some opinions, and some inferences made by the students,” he said after the meeting.

The new standard says, “Scientific conclusions are tested by experiment and observation, and evolution, as with any aspect of science, is continually open to and subject to experimental and observational testing.”

Melanie Barton, executive director of the Education Oversight Committee, says the new standard should make students think critically. "It will just be look at the new scientific evidence,” she says. “What are you finding that supports Darwin's theory? What doesn't support it? Or what causes you to have questions? And that's what scientists do every day."

If the standard gets the required approval of the EOC and state board, teachers will start using it when school starts.

Photo Credit: Andrey Popox Shutterstock