Voters in Dover, Pennsylvania rejected school board incumbents who had made national headlines for wanting to mandate inclusion of Intelligent Design in a public school biology curriculum. In Tuesday's election, Republicans fielded a pro-Intelligent Design slate of candidates including some returning candidates who had previously voted to include a statement about Intelligent Design in the biology curriculum. A Democratic slate of candidates, known as Dover CARES (Citizens Actively Reviewing Educational Strategies), won all eight of the seats that were up for election in a clean sweep. Dover CARES candidates advocate removing Intelligent Design from the biology curriculum but allowing discussion of Intelligent Design in courses dealing with philosophy and comparative religion.
In October 2004, the Dover school board decided that Intelligent Design is a scientific theory that should be mentioned in biology classes that include discussion of biological evolution as part of the course content. The board mandated that a statement should be read in those classes stating, "Intelligent Design is an explanation of the origin of life," and "The school leaves the discussion of the Origins of Life to individual students and their families".
The school board's statement on Intelligent Design directs students to the book Of Pandas and People as a source of information "for students who might be interested in gaining an understanding of what Intelligent Design actually involves". This book is published by the Foundation for Thought and Ethics, a non-profit organization founded for the purpose of "promoting and publishing textbooks presenting a Christian perspective".
Parents of some Dover public school students filed a law suit against the school board, charging that including the school board's statement on Intelligent Design was an attempt to introduce religion into the science curriculum. The book Of Pandas and People says, "Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency". The original complaint in the law suit against the school board claimed that, "Intelligent design is a non-scientific argument or assertion". The evidence phase of the trial ended on November 4, 2005. Judge John Jones, who heard the non-jury case, hopes to make his ruling by the end of the year. A local Dover newspaper, the York Daily Record, editorialized that Dover voters should take trial testimony into account when casting votes for school board members.
Biology teachers in the Dover schools have refused to read the school board's statement on Intelligent Design to students because the Pennsylvania state code for education states that, "The professional educator may not knowingly and intentionally misrepresent subject matter". In a letter to their adminisrator, the teachers stated their view that, "INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS NOT SCIENCE." School administrators have been reading the school board's Intelligent Design statement to students in Dover public schools.