The Courier-Journal reports that the majority of comments during a Tuesday hearing on the new standards came from critics who questioned the validity of evolution and climate change. They railed against the standards as a threat to religious liberty, at times drawing comparisons to Soviet-style communism.

Nearly two dozen parents, teachers, scientists and advocacy groups commented at the state Department of Education hearing on the Next Generation Science Standards. The broad set of guidelines will revamp content in grades K-12 and help meet requirements from a 2009 law that called for improving education.

"Students in the commonwealth both need and deserve 21st-century science education grounded in inquiry, rich in content and internationally benchmarked," said Blaine Ferrell, a representative from the Kentucky Academy of Sciences, a science advocacy group that endorses the standards.