updated 2/19/2004 9:28:44 PM ET 2004-02-20T02:28:44

Georgia’s Board of Education on Thursday unanimously adopted a revised state biology curriculum that leaves the word “evolution” in place when teaching science.

The board said it hoped the move will end controversy sparked last month after state Superintendent Kathy Cox called for the word to be replaced by the phrase “biological changes over time” in the curriculum. Cox reversed her position after a week of criticism from science teachers, college professors and politicians.

Board members will consider giving final approval to the new draft in June.

“This is now a second-to-none curriculum,” board member Peggy Nielson said. “I’m very pleased with the process that brought us where we are today.”

Nielson’s was one of only a few comments directly addressing the evolution controversy — which drew public criticism from former President Jimmy Carter, Gov. Sonny Perdue and other high-level education and political leaders.

Cox declined to answer questions about the controversy.

“We’ve had the conversation about that. People have spoken up, we’ve revised the draft and we’re moving on,” she said.

The new draft says “molecular evidence substantiates the anatomical evidence for evolution” and contains multiple references to scientist Charles Darwin and his theory of natural selection.

Board members said the curriculum could change again before it is approved.

“It needs to be emphasized that this is not cast in stone,” board member Dean Alford said. “There is still going to be a lot of input, and I’m sure a lot of people will have comments.”

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