September 16, 2006
Board games in Ohio
Just over a week ago, I wrote about the efforts of Ohio’s religious crazies to get intelligent design on the Ohio school curriculum—efforts that were supposed to come to fruition at a subcommittee meeting last Monday. As it turns out, the state school board didn’t vote to send Ohio’s schools back to the dark and distant past—at least, not this time around. Instead, it spent last Monday’s meeting rewriting the past:
A State Board of Education proposal that critics say could bring creationist teaching into science classrooms appears to be stalled. Meanwhile, evolution backers raised questions Tuesday about the board altering records to remove traces of its involvement in the potentially explosive issue.
On Monday, a board subcommittee did not vote as scheduled on the “Controversial Issues Template” as the proposal is known, although the issue could come up for a vote at next month’s regularly scheduled board meeting.
The proposal provides guidelines for discussion of controversial topics, but evolution backers say it is a smoke screen to get intelligent design into classrooms. Intelligent design, or ID, is a controversial alternative to evolution that teaches life is so complex it could only have begun with divine intervention.
The full board could have weighed in Tuesday, but a two-hour time limit on the issue expired before the roll was taken.
Patricia Princehouse, evolution advocate and professor at Case Western Reserve University, said the achievement committee didn’t run behind schedule by accident.
Princehouse said the committee ate up the two hours by rewriting minutes from July to remove from the public record any direct mention of intelligent design.
Steve Rissing, an Ohio State University professor and evolution backer, said the changes in the minutes are significant.
“The corrected minutes bear no resemblance to what I saw and what I heard,” Rissing said.
The template’s author, Colleen Grady, a board member from Strongsville, pushed during Monday’s meeting to remove language referring to evolution, global warming, stem-cell research and cloning technologies that were in the original standards introduced in July.
The two scientists maintain Grady introduced these specific ideas in July and they were contained in the minutes assembled then, but the board’s rewriting of those minutes has deleted references to these controversial ideas.
And they have a tape recording to prove it: read on. Which may be why Grady—a disciple of failed wingnut gubernatorial candidate (and current Ohio attorney general) Jim Petro—isn’t commenting. Petro is well-schooled in track-covering.
Ohioans who want to rid their state school board of the religious right will have an opportunity in the upcoming November 7th elections: visit Help Ohio Public Education to ensure that your vote counts.
And if your school science curriculum is under attack, go visit People For The American Way’s public education site for the resources you need to fight back.
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