Thursday, March 11, 2004

Tales Out of School

Options for Eating
Yesterday's copy of the local paper (the kind that reports on the table decor at the ladies' club luncheon) contained a story on the district's school breakfast program. They are quite pleased with the response, finding that not only are many students participating at free or reduced cost, but many are paying full price--in other words, their parents certainly could afford to feed them breakfast, they just don't want to bother. Full price is a dollar, which seems cheap compared to breakfast at a restaurant, but would be pretty extravagant for breakfast at home.

And such healthy food as they are getting, carefully designed to meet state nutrition standards: an enriched doughnut, cold cereal such as Trix, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on graham crackers.

My mom wouldn't have let me eat that much sugar for dessert, let alone breakfast.

Options for Thinking
Secularists are gasping with horror at the new lesson plan being offered by the Ohio School Board. Not that it mentions God or creation or anything. It's not even mandated. But teachers would have the option of including a lesson that would allow for critical thinking about evolution.

Can this be constitutional? Surely the Constitution mandates that evolution be taught as unquestionable fact. Considering that Charles Darwin wasn't born when the Constitution was written, I kind of doubt it.

The insidious things students will be taught through this lesson:
* Understanding the nature of theories
* Applying the scientific method
* Distinguishing between microevolution (change within species) and macroevolution (change between species)
* Arguing whether different evidence supports macroevolution or not.

Now, what is so scary about this? Is the theory of evolution so weak that it can't handle a classroom of 16-year-olds thinking critically about it?

The secularists will compare teaching--or even hinting--about intelligent design to giving students the option of considering the flat earth theory. But come to think of it, debating the curvature of the earth, examining the evidence for and against it and allowing students to argue both sides, would be an excellent intellectual exercise. And I'm pretty sure students would come to the conclusion that the earth was, in fact, round.

So what are they so afraid of here?

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