Ohio school district trying to teach Creationism and other pseudoscience
On Thursday, a small Ohio town’s school board allowed for comments from citizens, parents, and students on a proposed policy change that would allow the district to teach and promote Creationism and a host of other pseudo-scientific positions under the guise of discussing controversial issues.
The Springboro Community City School District has introduced 2240 – Controversial Issues, whose purpose is to “help students think critically, learn to identify important issues, explore fully and fairly all sides of an issue, weigh carefully the values and factors involved, and develop techniques for formulating and evaluating positions.”
The list of controversial topics includes, “[Religion] when not used in a historical or factual context, sex education, legalization of drugs, evolution/creation, pro-life/abortion, contraception/abstinence, conservatism/liberalism, politics, gun rights, global warming and climate change, UN Agenda 21 and sustainable development, and any other topic on which opposing points of view have been promulgated by responsible opinion and/or likely to arouse both support and opposition in the community.”
Springsboro parents and the American Civil Liberties Union saw through this.
One parent is quoted by the Dayton Daily News as saying during the meeting, “We’re being defined by our issues and not our accomplishments.”
She then read off a press release from the ACLU of Ohio, urging the school board to not adopt the policy.
That press release reads, “For the second time in two years, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio has sent a letter to Springboro Community City Schools officials, asking them to abandon proposed policies that advance creationism in the classroom.”
In 2011, the ACLU contacted the very same school district for its proposal to “offer creationism as supplemental instruction during discussions.”
The school board abandoned the policy change due to public outcry, saying that it was a “distraction” from more important work that had to be done within the school district.
Some of those on the left are less worried about the possibility of there being Creationism in public schools, as they see it as a clear cut issue that would be struck down for its unconstitutional promotion of a religion, and more worried about the mention of “UN Agenda 21 and sustainable development” in the policy and how it mandates equal footing to conspiracy theories propagated on the extreme-right about the program.
Teachers would have to provide equal weight to widely-accepted scientific theories like evolution and right-wing conspiracies advanced by Glenn Beck. Under the policy, students could not learn about sustainable development without also assessing the impact of U.N. Agenda 21, a series of non-binding U.N. recommendations for ensuring that economic growth does not undermine the environment, which conservatives believe will destroy American sovereignty and freedom. The Agenda was developed at a summit in Brazil in 1992 with support from President George H.W. Bush.
Addicting Info also had some choice words about conservative radio host and author Glenn Beck and his take on the policy:
Agenda 21 encourages member nations [of the UN] to take environmental factors into consideration when developing their resources, land, transportation, etc. It is not a treaty. It is not legally binding. It just asks that we be environmentally aware and not go blasting away mountain tops, damming rivers and such without consideration for environmental concerns. Even The Heritage Foundation has examined Agenda 21 and concluded that it is not a threat “in and of itself.”
But that didn’t stop our buddy Glenn Beck from scribbling a hysterical tome based on the program. His book is the worst kind of manipulative tripe and is badly written, to boot. It is set in a dystopian world – this is the place Beck fantasizes about when he’s worked himself up into a paranoid lather over unseen enemies and imaginary threats to freedom as he… I’ll stop there. I don’t have enough brain bleach. Anyway, it’s infantile propaganda. But a public school district wants to treat it as fact and use it in a curriculum that isn’t Bad Modern Lit 101.
WKRC reports that the school board plans to vote on the proposal sometime in early June. We will bring you updates as the story develops.