Archive for Monday, November 28, 2005

Controversy, harm

Why can’t Kansas officials show more trust in the state’s public school students and teachers?

November 28, 2005

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The Chicago Tribune editorially noted the widespread clashes between advocates of evolution and intelligent design and pointed out that in some cases "students and teachers might feel whip-sawed by it all."

When will personal interests begin to dissolve into an atmosphere of reason and human interchange? Unfortunately, here in Kansas, which is a major site of all the furor, it does not appear that such a highly desirable moment will arrive very soon, at least until new elections can alter the thinking of the state school board and its officials. Backing up the board, of course, is a strongly conservative section of our electorate that could return the intelligent design devotees to their jobs.

But it is well for proponents of all philosophies to consider conclusions by the Tribune on the controversy. Says the Tribune:

"The great majority of Americans have tolerance and respect for different faiths and beliefs - and no patience for those who would impose their faith or beliefs on others, particularly in public life. :

"But let's leave that decision to the classroom. Evolution is a matter of science, intelligent design is a matter of faith : it is a mistake to hand down directives from on high as to the inclusion or exclusion of a discussion of a matter of faith. Our species has evolved far enough by now to trust that teachers and students can, on their own, hold intelligent discussions."

The kind of micro-management some Kansas people would impose on our educational system is an insult to the people in that system who have shown for decades they are fully capable of sensible teaching processes.

Aren't there issues for public education in Kansas that are far more important than this debilitating debate? It might provide tremendous fodder for a high school debate forum, but it is in effect causing the kind of harm no citizen, pro or con, should want for our schools and the youngsters they are designed to serve.

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