On the surface, this is merely about a municipal election, the sort of thing that’s boring even in the town where we live; but in this case it appears that the city council appoints the local school board. Such things become interesting when they involve The Controversy between evolution and creationism — and in Lynchburg, the presence of that issue is all but inevitable. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:
Education was a reoccurring topic at the latest City Council candidates’ forum held Thursday, with questions touching on school board appointments, budget issues and whether or not intelligent design should be part of the science curriculum.
Aha — the game’s afoot! Let’s read on:
The Republican candidates emphasized the need for school board members with a strong business background who would demand accountability from the central office.
Who cares? Let’s get to the creationism:
A question about whether intelligent design should be taught in science class was ducked by most candidates, with many saying it was up to the schools and educators to determine what was in the curriculum.
That means they’re creationists — or if not, they’re afraid to anger creationist voters. Neither quality is desirable. Here’s more:
Brent Robertson alone tackled the issue head-on. “I’m going to get really controversial,” he said. “I see no scientific proof that evolution should reign supreme in classrooms.”
Robertson’s statement drew disapproving murmurs from the audience. He said he realized his position would “not be too popular in this room,” but added he felt it was more popular among the general community. He reiterated his feeling that school board should be elected, rather than appointed, so that these decisions can be made by people who are directly accountable to the public.
Robertson may not be the only creationist in the race, but at least he’s honest about it. The audience reaction to him is encouraging. This forum was organized by the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce and it was held at Lynchburg College — a church-related private school. We continue with the article:
Asked the same question, interim Councilman Randy Nelson said he would leave curriculum decisions to the schools, but added that he felt things taught in science class should have the support of the general educational community and not be “something that’s foreign to science.”
That’s not too bad, but then he waffles some more:
On the matter of school board appointments, Nelson, who will have his first opportunity to take part in that process when three board seats come up for appointment next month, said he would look for people who are analytical and intelligent but still have the flexibility to listen and take new information into consideration.
Whatever that means. The article discusses other matters, but that’s all there is specifically on the issue of creationism.
We haven’t given a lot of thought to this, but in comparing this to what’s been going on in Texas, where the school board is elected and candidates can run specifically on a creationist platform, the Lynchburg system seems preferable. Municipal elections usually involve a variety of issues, and a creationist faction can’t easily dominate the whole city government.
But then, this particular election is in Lynchburg, so who knows?
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