The Springboro Board of Education is asking for trouble.
Board members are considering a policy that would require faculty to teach creationism in science class.
According to the Dayton Daily News, the proposed policy would require teachers to offer all sides of “controversial issues” such as evolution. Evolution is lumped in with other “controversial” issues such as sex education, legalization of drugs, pro-life/abortion, contraception/abstinence, conservatism/liberalism, politics, gun rights, global warming and climate change, and sustainable development.
WDTN Channel 2 News reports that Board Vice President Jim Rigano is trying to downplay the impact of the policy.
“It's about controversial issues and creation/evolution being one of those,” he said, “and the policy is being brought forward for a couple reasons. One is we don't want to be indoctrinating students to any particular point of view. We want to make sure that all sides are being taught in a fair and balanced way and, then, also, we want to encourage critical thinking."
We’re all in favor of "critical thinking," of course. And my critical thinking leads me to believe that board members are on a religious crusade.
Evolution is not a “controversial issue,” at least not within the scientific community. Scientists regard evolution as the central organizing principle of modern biology.
The National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and other allied organizations have repeatedly insisted that science education must focus on science, not religion. Evolution is only controversial with fundamentalist Christians who want to teach their theology in public schools.
Many parents in Springboro are on to the obvious religious agenda the board is considering.
According to WDTN, David Bowman said, "I think this school board likes to play politics and likes to play games. This is merely a means for them to introduce their specific ideology. I don't think they're at all interested in teaching our kids critical thinking."
The Ohio ACLU is on the case as well.
“In 2011, the Springboro school board backed away from plans to teach creationism under public pressure,” said ACLU of Ohio Staff Attorney Drew Dennis. “At the time, they claimed they were no longer pursuing the issue and called it a ‘distraction’ from more important work. Less than two years later the district has proposed a series of policies designed to integrate creationism into the school curriculum.
“These plans are just as unconstitutional today as they were in 2011,” added Dennis. “And they remain an unnecessary distraction from the more important work of giving children the education they need to succeed in the real world.”
In these days of limited resources, it would be a huge waste of public funds to defend a school policy that is manifestly unconstitutional. The Springboro school board will be failing its duties to the Constitution and the children of the community if it proceeds with this reckless scheme.
Media accounts say board members are likely to vote on the policy at its next meeting June 4. Here’s hoping they do the right thing.