January 17, 2002

Curriculum Controversy in Ohio

The breaking news is that a full scale Kansas-style revolt against the dogmatic teaching of evolutionism has broken out on the Ohio State Board of Education. The story was on the front page of the Cleveland Plain Dealer Tuesday. Here is an excerpt. More will be posted as the story develops, after I return from a trip speaking in the Minneapolis area over the weekend. For Minnesota details see www.mnsummit.org.

Unhappy with an early draft of the proposed science curriculum for grades K-12, several members of the State Board of Education are pushing for a rewrite that would present evolution as "an assumption, not fact," and would include an alternative explanation for how humans and all other living things came to exist.

"Obviously, the process has broken down," said Lynn Elfner, a member of the board's science advisory committee and director of the Ohio Academy of Science. "All bets are off at this point. It's a political ballgame now." The board members are especially interested in having Ohio students learn about "intelligent design," a contention that living things are too complex to have occurred by chance, and thus must have been "designed" by some unspecified but purposeful being. Most mainstream scientists say the concept is scientifically untestable and should not be taught alongside evolution. [I guess saying that is how they got admitted to the mainstream.]

Presenting students with alternatives to evolution runs counter to the board's own science advisory committee and the recommendations of national science and education groups. Department of Education staffers have warned board members that intervening in the ongoing curriculum-writing process - which the board approved - might prompt the volunteers who are doing the work to resign, and could expose the board to lawsuits.

Nevertheless, the group of board members may push for a vote as early as today. Their views emerged in a sometimes heated meeting late Sunday night and will be aired again when the board's standards committee resumes this morning."

Phillip Johnson

Copyright 2002 Phillip E. Johnson. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.
File Date: 1.17.02

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