Springboro School Board Wants Creationism

These things probably happen all over the country, but they don’t often come to our attention. We learned of this one at the website of WHIO-TV in Dayton, Ohio, of which Springboro is a suburb.

The news story, Creationism discussion slated in Springboro, says that the topic of including creationism in classroom instruction will come up at a meeting of the School Board tonight. We found their website here, and it indicates that they’re having a meeting on 23 May, but there’s no link to an agenda.

The news article says: “Several school board members want to include creationism in classroom instruction.” That’s pretty raw — they’re not even going stealth by calling it Intelligent Design. Among those who want this new policy is board President Kelly Kohls. We checked her out at the board’s website and she’s a professional nutritionist — besides being a creationist, of course.

The news story also says the board has received a warning letter from the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, but they plan to go ahead anyway. This may be bad for the kiddies, but it’ll be fun for us. We’re also told that:

Sex education, legalization of drugs, evolution/creation, pro-life/abortion, contraception/abstinence, conservatism/liberalism, politics, gun rights, global warming and climate change and sustainable development also would be issues deemed appropriate for discussion in Springboro classrooms, according to the proposed policy.

How very stylish! With all of that going on, when will the kiddies learn anything useful? You know, stuff like math, science, history, maybe even some things like grammar and English composition. Does any of that get taught in Springboro?

Only one member of the Board, Don Miller, has said he opposes the proposed policy. He’s a financial analyst. Looking at the Board’s website, we see that the other Board members are David Petroni, who works for a real estate developer, and Wendy Kull, who has some kind of job in mortgage lending. There’s also Jim Rigano, who has a degree in Chemical Engineering. On paper they don’t look like a bunch of creationists, but that seems to be what they are.

Rigano is quoted as saying that the proposal is “an attempt to ensure we’re not indoctrinating one point of view or another.” Right — gotta teach creationism so the kiddies don’t get indoctrinated.

The article also quotes the Board’s attorney, Hollie Reedy. We don’t know what cases she’s been reading, but they quote her as saying: “Schools may teach about controversial topics and may debate controversial topics in classrooms. Currently, though, Ohio’s science standards teach evolution.”

With advice like that, what could go wrong? If we find any news about what happened at tonight’s meeting, we’ll let you know.

Correction: Hollie says she’s not the Board’s attorney. That being the case, we don’t know why the news story quoted her. But someone is advising the Board, and if that person is doing a good job, it doesn’t look like the Board is paying attention.

Update: According to this, Springboro parents weigh in on creationism debate, most parents at the meeting opposed creationism, and so did teachers. The creationism proposal wasn’t adopted. But the Board president says she’ll bring the subject up again in the future.

See also: Ken Ham Supports the Springboro School Board.

Update: Springboro School Board Still Wants Creationism.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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17 responses to “Springboro School Board Wants Creationism

  1. Ceteris Paribus

    Curm asks: “With all of that [creation/evolution, etc] going on, when will the kiddies learn anything useful? You know, stuff like math, science, history, maybe even some things like grammar and English composition. Does any of that get taught in Springboro?”

    Being as the school is in Ohio, it’s a pretty fair assumption that classroom time and curriculum is under the direct control of the football coach, and not the school board.

  2. waldteufel

    This school board better get ready to spend a lot of taxpayer money defending a lawsuit they will surely lose. Springboro School Board, meet the Dover School Board. 🙂

  3. Spector567

    The people on the board that are driving creationism in the school board could be a minority. However, other board members may not know enough or feel that strongly about evolution to take a stand to defend it. Or the supporters have wrapped up enough other issues in the discussion that they are getting something they want as well.

    That being said I the NCSE can provide the remaining members the education resources that they will require.

    On the other hand this could be another Dover and a reminder to communities as to the actual cost of bringing an ideological axe into a school board meeting.

  4. anevilmeme

    Well this could lead to the creation of a new verb: Dovered.

  5. Ugh…this is not the kind of news I wanted to hear out of the part of the country where I grew up.

  6. I went back to Ohio. But my city was gone.

  7. Here in Europe the curriculum of public schools is mostly decided by state authority, and the US system with meddling local school boards looks rather quaint to European eyes. One can say a thousand good things about local democracy, but when it comes to science education, the US system is vulnerable to religious zealots and True Believers of all kinds. They could not hope to influence central educational institutions, but it is far easier to infiltrate or sway strictly local committees, and so compromise science education through a bottom-up strategy..

  8. I just updated the post to add this: According to this, Springboro parents weigh in on creationism debate, most parents at the meeting opposed creationism, and so did teachers. The creationism proposal wasn’t adopted. But the Board president says she’ll bring the subject up again in the future.

  9. Hollie Reedy

    I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not Springboro’s attorney. I represent the Ohio School Boards Association, of which Springboro is not a member. While the quote in the paper was not exactly what I wrote, it is accurate. School districts may teach about religion, but they may not practice religion. School districts may teach about controversial topics. Ohio’s science standards, if you’d bother to look at them, teach evolution. There isn’t anything inaccurate about my understanding of the First Amendment or what Ohio’s science standards are. Please don’t try to infer that I support Springboro’s proposals.

  10. Hollie Reedy says: “Please don’t try to infer that I support Springboro’s proposals.”

    Good of you to drop in, Hollie. The news story didn’t serve you well. I assumed that anyone advising the Board (and it seems that’s not you) would be aware of at least some of the Major Cases on NCSE’s list, and would advise them accordingly, which is why so few school boards openly embrace teaching creationism these days.

  11. “…be aware of at least some of the Major Cases …”

    Kelly Kohls: “Major cases? Major cases; what are those???”

  12. If Hollie Reedy is not the Board’s attorney, then Sensh should edit his post to correct the error.

  13. I have to wonder what it means when they say they’re going to teach “Controversial Topics.”

    Sounds like Springboro wants to get rid of Biology and replace it with “The Evidence that Obama was Born in Kenya” or “Obama’s Fake Birth Certificate” or “Climategate” or “FEMA has constructed concentration camps for conservatives” or “Obama’s gonna grab your guns.”

    I mean where does “controversial” end? Conservatives now use “controversial” as a code-word meaning “All claims are equal, regardless of differences in evidential support.”

  14. Diogenes says: “If Hollie Reedy is not the Board’s attorney, then Sensh should edit his post to correct the error.”

    You’re right. It’s done.

  15. That is correct on “controversial topics.” It means balanced treatment or equal treatment. Thus, Alex Jones’ theory that the government has a weather weapon has equal credence with the National Weather Service. It means that Jim Inhof’s claim that climate change is a “hoax” is on par with the scientific consensus over the past 20 years.

    It means you are not allowed to cast aspersions on their asparagus!

    Here in Texas a local school board allowed a Bible as Literature class to be held because it would fairly treat a “controversial” topic, however the actual class was akin to vacation bible study and, ultimately, few if any students signed up to waste there time with it. But, gosh darn it, they got the Bible back in public school, by hecky!

  16. Ceteris Paribus

    Hollie Reedy says:

    ” While the quote in the paper [that “Schools may teach about controversial topics and may debate controversial topics in classrooms,”] was not exactly what I wrote, it is accurate. School districts may teach about religion, but they may not practice religion.”

    Which should remind us that attorneys necessarily deal with a larger frame of reference than biology and other sciences.

    When I looked at the at the Major Cases listed on the NCSE site, I was curious that it did not start with, or even include, McCollum v. Board of Education Dist. 71, which was a major Supreme Court decision from 1948 involving the teaching of religion in a public school. Skimming thru the NCSE list of cases, it appears that the NCSE is primarily focused on cases that separate science from non-science

    But one Appeals Court case noted by the NCSE, “Webster et al. v. New Lenox School District et al.” does look at the rights of teachers and students. In a decision confirmed at the Appeals Court level, it was held that a science teacher did not have a right to teach creationism in his class. It also held that the desire of a student, who wanted to be taught creationism in his science class, was outweighed by the school’s interest to not violate the establishment clause, and the first amendment rights of other students.

    So when we look beyond the decisions that calculators and lab data and reason can provide, and move into the landscape of “controversy” as mentioned by Hollie Reedy, we should proceed very carefully. Pedagogically, there is only a fine line between indoctrination and education, and plenty of theocrats milling around with erasers in their hands waiting to erase that line.

  17. Anne Mearns Stremanos

    If you teach one religion’s beliefs you should teach all religions’ beliefs and call it Comparative Religion. This school board is using silliness to divert attention from the real issues facing the community. Springboro has a top rated school system at a very low comparative cost to taxpayers. How do you balance the budget, maintain a superior teaching staff and continue to support a high performing student body? Taxpayers have consistently turned down tax levies, the board is offering an unrealistic contract and teachers are ready to strike. That is the real issue.