Thursday, May 30, 2013

Left Side of the Aisle #110 - Part 3

Clown Award: Springboro, Ohio, school board

Now for the Clown Award, given regularly for acts of meritorious stupidity. This week, the big red nose goes to the school board of Springboro, Ohio, a suburb about midway between Cincinnati and Dayton.

In 2011, the board considered a proposal to allow teaching of creationism as "supplemental instruction" in the schools. That plan was scrapped due to public opposition.

But far be it from clowns to give up in the face of reason, so they're at it again. The board is currently considering a proposal that would allow the district to teach creationism as part of a larger proposal about controversial issues in the classroom.

Parents who spoke at the school board meeting about it are against it. The ACLU of Ohio has pointed out that creationism has repeatedly been found by the courts to be inherently religious and so teaching it in public schools is an unconstitutional violation of church-state separation. The board doesn't appear to care and three members of the five-member board are in favor of it.

One, who is also head of the local Tea Party, called creationism "a significant part of the history of this country" and "an absolutely valid theory." Another said “we’re pointing out evolution is a controversial issue.”

Evolution, of course, is not controversial among scientists but only among the yahoos and know-nothings who can't stop thumping their Bibles long enough to gain some clue as to what the hell it is they're talking about. Ohio, unfortunately, seems to have an overabundance of them - at least among the clowns on the Springboro, Ohio, school board.

Oh, by the way, there's a footnote to this: The 2012 platform of the Texas GOP, in discussing education, says the party is opposed to "critical thinking skills and similar programs." Now, leaving aside the observation that it's easy to understand why right-wingers are opposed to critical thinking, I wonder what that means for all those various dodos who use a claim of "advancing critical thinking skills" as a means to attempt to lever creationism into the schools? It's apparently a case of the right hand not knowing what the other right hand is doing.

And by the way, there actually is some good news on this front: As reported by the National Center for Science Education, two antievolution bills died in the Missouri House of Representatives on May 17, when the legislature adjourned. One of those bills referred to, yes, helping students "develop critical thinking skills" by discussing creationism. In all, eight antievolution bills were introduced in six states in 2013: Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, and Oklahoma. None passed.


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