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Archive for Tuesday, September 7, 1999

NO BACKBONE

September 7, 1999

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To the editor:

Not satisfied with the watering down of the state's science standards at the hands of the State Board of Education, I see that our local school district has decided to lower the bar even further for Lawrence students by removing Stan Roth from the classroom. Although his occasionally confrontational style was interpreted by some as ridicule, it was in actuality a challenge to students to get off their duffs and do some thinking for themselves. Neither religious nor scientific dogma were welcome in his classroom. The beauty of his classroom experience was that it left you not with mere volumes of facts, but rather with increased ability for critical thinking. Such skills are highly valuable in any area of study and greatly prized by future employers.

Stan Roth allowed students to disagree with him, and at no time during my experience in his classroom (or in that of my classmates) did I observe intolerance for a student's faith or moral covictions. However, he appropriately drew the line on letting the students dictate the content of his class. Should any creation theory grounded in actual science have ever been brought up in class, I have no doubt it would have been accepted into discussion in Mr. Roth's classroom (the key here is SCIENCE-based creation theory). However, I have never seen any such material produced by either the center for creation "science" in Missouri or any other source.

The present administration at both Free State High School and in the superintendent's office should be ashamed for giving Mr. Roth the heave-ho with so little due process. In subjecting Mr. Roth to the equivalent of the farcical "double-secret probation" employed by the college dean in the film Animal House, the district has made a mockery of the science classroom and displayed the collective backbone of a bucket of annelids (If you don't know what those are, ask Stan Roth -- he could certainly teach you).

Derek VanSchmus,

Lawrence.

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