Ohio

From: <burgytwo@juno.com>
Date: Fri Feb 17 2006 - 16:22:21 EST

Interesting e-mail rec'd today.

Burgy

Date: February 17, 2006
From: Christian Educators Association International
By: Finn Laursen

Ohio Censors Science Options

WESTLAKE, Ohio, Feb. 17 -- “Last Tuesday, the Ohio Board of Education took a giant step backwards by sterilizing Ohio public school science standards of any critical analysis of the theory of evolution,” says Finn Laursen, Executive Director of the Christian Educators Association. “The result is inevitably a chilling effect upon intellectual inquiry.”

The Ohio state board voted eleven to four to delete teaching material that would allow students to be able to “describe how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolution.” Board member Martha Wise led the charge to remove any science not supportive of evolution out of the state’s standards, despite the objections of those, including Laursen, who had been pleading with her to reconsider.

In her communication with Laursen, she explained that the state science lesson plan, Critical Analysis of Evolution , may lead students to Intelligent Design, then to Creationism, and then to God.

“Wise fears that encouraging critical thinking might land the state of Ohio in court,” says Laursen. “Since when should we be afraid of where intellectual inquiry may lead?”

The Ohio Board’s decision comes in the wake of a court ruling in Dover, Pennsylvania, that stopped the district there from informing students that evolution is a theory and that Intelligent Design is another theory; the district had suggested to students that they could investigate these issues on their own.

The lesson plan in question in Ohio was not a required part of the state standards, but merely an example teachers could use as a model of good teaching. The recent State Boar d of Education decision is a reversal of a nine to eight decision a month ago to keep the lesson plan. However, three board members were absent Tuesday who are supporters of an open study of all science; they may bring this issue back for a vote in the future.

According to Laursen, “If government officials censor any critical thinking just because it may lead to ideas of a Creator, we are in danger of creating an educational culture that could ban other avenues of intellectual inquiry. Students are supposed to be encouraged to engage in higher level thinking. We need to nurture a generation of thinkers and problem solvers who can tackle a future filled with knowledge that we cannot, as of now, even imagine.”

“It used to be scientific orthodoxy that the earth is flat. In Galileo’s day, those that forbade scientific inquiry defended the orthodoxy that the earth was the center of the universe. Now we are to accept evolutionary theory as fact and rule out consideration of other theories. That is hardly an enlightened approach.”

“As an educational association, CEAI will continue to urge our members, the majority of whom are Christians teaching in public schools, to teach beyond required curriculum and textbooks in all subjects, including science. The courts have continually affirmed public school teachers’ rights of academic freedom as long as they do not use their positions to force their own religious beliefs on their charges.”

“That also means that teachers in public schools should not be a party to censoring new theoretical thinking, whether in the area of science or any other subject,” says Laursen.

Finn Laursen is the Executive Director of the Christian Educators Association International, est. 1953.
Received on Fri Feb 17 16:23:49 2006

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