Archive for Tuesday, September 7, 1999

RESPECT NEEDED

September 7, 1999

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To the editor:

During the past few years, I have had the opportunity to work on math education issues with the conservative members of the Kansas State Board of Education. They are, to me, friends and colleagues. However, if these KSBE members are suggesting that "creationism" should be allowed in the Kansas science curriculum, I am absolutely opposed to them on that issue -- if that is indeed their position.

The evolution matter -- without the issue of creationism -- is nothing more than a "tempest in a teapot." Local boards of education have the right and responsibility to prepare their constituents' children for higher education. It is difficult to understand how anyone would have a problem with that notion.

Unfortunately, the conservatives have made a serious blunder by associating their argument with religion. An organization dedicated to "creation science" has apparently assisted Steve Abrams with his recommended changes to the statewide standards.

Americans are generally afraid of religious indoctrination. I am certainly no exception to that general viewpoint. The thought of a particular religious doctrine foisted upon unsuspecting parents and children is chilling and appalling.

I wish my conservative colleagues had not blundered into this mess. They should have foreseen the consequences of their actions. They should have known that reaction to their approach would be wildly emotional and only serve to distract Kansans from the real important issues in education.

The only way out of this debacle is reasoned discussion. Everyone must be willing to admit mistakes, reverse course, and have a collegial discussion about the teaching of science.

"Creation science" in the science curriculum is a bad idea. But Channel 1 in the social science curriculum is just as bad. How many journalists, politicians and academics are screaming about a daily, 15-minute "sound-bite" news program interspersed with Hershey and Frosted Flakes commercials? Why is brainwashing kids with Pizza Hut, Levis and other logos any different than brainwashing them with a particular religion? How many people know how widespread this practice is?

It is time to lower voices. It is time to search for mutual respect and understanding. Mostly, however, it is time to put Kansas kids ahead of the hidden agendas on both sides of the political spectrum.

David E. Kingsley,

Lawrence.

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