Atlanta - A new proposal by the state's school superintendent would strike the word 'evolution' from Georgia's science curriculum, replacing it with the phrase 'biological changes over time.'
Superintendent Kathy Cox's proposal, criticized by both liberals and conservatives, would still call for the concept of evolution to be taught, only omitting the term itself from the curriculum. Teachers would not be prohibited from using the word in the classroom, however.
The move is geared to alleviate pressure on teachers in socially conservative areas where parents object to its teaching.
One of the most prominent opponents to the ban was former president Jimmy Carter, a professed Baptist. Carter said that teaching evolution in the schools has not damaged religion in the state.
"There can be no incompatibility between Christian faith and proven facts concerning geology, biology and astronomy," Carter said.
While even some social conservatives shared the former presidents sentiments, others called the change promising news.
Sadie Fields, state chairman of the Christian Coalition of Georgia said that the superintendent had stated before a Christian Coalition candidate forum in 2002 that she believes in a higher power created the universe. Fields expressed a hope that adding "intelligent design theory" to the curriculum would be the next step.
The state Board of Education is expected to rule on the proposed changes to the state's curriculum in May.