Monday, January 10, 2005

Dover teachers get "relief" - York Daily Record

The apparent compromise on Thursday suggests a farce in Science Class for the Grade 9's. The lesson will start, the teacher will give the subject for the day "Darwin's Theory of Evolution", and then an administrator will be invited in to read the statement:

"The Pennsylvania Academic Standards require students to learn about Darwin's Theory of Evolution and eventually to take a standardized test of which evolution is a part.
"Because Darwin's Theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The Theory is not a fact. Gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence. A theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations.
"Intelligent Design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin's view. The reference book, Of Pandas and People, is available for students who might be interested in gaining an understanding of what Intelligent Design actually involves.
"With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind. The school leaves the discussion of the Origins of Life to individual students and their families. As a Standards-driven district, class instruction focuses upon preparing students to achieve proficiency on Standards-based assessments."

After which the kids in the back row will snicker, the administrator walks out, the teacher walks back in and continues with the lesson, with no reference to the aforementioned administrative statement? I think not. Children are inquisitive creatures and will ask questions, like

  • Why is Evoultion not a fact?
  • Why arn't we being taight ID?
  • My Dad says "Of Pandas and People" is not science, what does he mean?

It's a minefield fro the poor science teacher, and the lesson could end up taking two or more periods.

Dover teachers get "relief" - York Daily Record:

"Dover Area High School science teachers won't have to read a statement informing ninth-grade biology students that there are problems with Darwin's theory of evolution, and that intelligent design is a theory with a differing view of the origin of life.

"And there is a great sense of relief, though there is still no great sense of trust in the district," said Bill Miller, a Dover Area Education Association spokesman.

On Thursday, teachers in the high school's science department sent a letter to the administration requesting they be allowed to "opt out" of reading a four-paragraph statement about intelligent design to students. On Friday, the district, through its attorneys at the Thomas More Law Center in Michigan, released a statement that said administration officials will read the "one minute" passage including intelligent design."

Referring to a religious text in a science class as a refernce and ID as an alternative to Evolution is simply irrational, lying, corrupt ethics, you name it, they are not science and would be better off in a philosophy of science lesson, in where all the theories of life can be considered, and why they didn't make the grade, and why Darwin's Evolution did. I don't know whether the age group would do it, but I, as a science teacher, would recommend for further reading, Dawkins, Gould and Zimmer for starters. In these works they will learn, not only the history of a great theory, but als how it came about and what other ideas fell by the wayside and why. The students would then be better equiped than any others to move on to Senior Biology, rather than reading the nonsense that is Of Panda's and People

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