We don’t mind if science teachers want to briefly stray from the state-sanctioned curriculum to, say, discuss a shark attack off our coast, or engage in lively debate over nuclear power, or even to briefly vent about not being able to watch Dodgers games on TV.It would be helpful if there was more information about which blog they summarized. If the blog is BioLogos, then the science is sound, even if it is within the context of Christian theology. If the blog was Answers in Genesis, then there is no science and the teacher did a massive disservice to the students. Once again, though, much is unclear. Did he have them summarize the scientific failings of the blog? Was it in the context of a discussion of “bad science?” Would be nice to know.
After all, the best teachers are those who make their classes relevant, timely and interesting. If that means occasionally deviating from the lesson plan, so be it. But to spend three days showing a filmed debate on creationism vs. evolution — as Arroyo Grande High School science teacher Brandon Pettenger reportedly did — and to assign students to read and summarize a pro-creationist blog is not OK. It violates state teaching standards and the Lucia Mar Unified School District’s board policy. It also takes advantage of a position of authority to foist religious instruction on a captive audience, even if it’s done under the guise of giving students the information they need in order to decide for themselves.
Friday, May 01, 2015
Arroyo Grande Technical School: Tribune Editorial
The editors of the Tribune in San Luis Obispo have written an editorial on the scuffle involving Brandon Pettenger and his inclusion of creationism as a discussion issue in class. From the Tribune: