The last time we wrote about the educational chaos in Arizona was More Creationist Madness in Arizona. It’s difficult to believe, but things are getting worse. Arizona’s current Superintendent of Public Instruction, Diane Douglas, a flaming creationist, was defeated in a recent primary election, but until her eventual successor is elected and takes office, she’s still running things.
We found today’s news in the Arizona Capitol Times, which describes itself as “as the leading source of political news from the state Capitol and beyond.” Their headline is Douglas proposes Christian-based academic standards. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:
A parade of teachers, parents and others lined up Monday to ask the state Board of Education to reject efforts by the state schools chief to alter — and they believe dilute — academic standards. During a meeting lasting hours, several people testified that Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas is seeking to undermine the science standards crafted by a group of teachers. They specifically took aim at what were last-minute changes she and her staff made in language dealing with climate change and changes in references to evolution.
Diane is too crazed to pay attention. The news story says:
[T]hey also told board members they should ignore a bid by Douglas to adopt charter school standards crafted by Hillsdale College, a private Christian school, for all public schools in the state. “Those are standards coming from a politically conservative, religiously conservative school with a Euro-centric sort of base to the world,” said Karen McClelland, a member of the Sedona-Oak Creek school board. “We need our students to have equal emphasis on the rest of the world.” The board took no action, deferring any final vote for at least a month.
Your Curmudgeon doesn’t object to Hillsdale’s politics, but that’s not the issue here. The news story tells us:
[The Hillsdale] standards themselves have a religious bent. For example, the standards for sixth grade history include references to what the college calls “basic ideas in common,” including “the nature of God and humanity” and the Old Testament. The standards also say students should learn the “important stories” of creation, the Tower of Babel, and The Ten Commandments. The New Testament is not ignored, with lessons including the Nativity, the baptism of Jesus, walking on water, and the Resurrection.
Diane likes that stuff. The news continues:
Douglas called what Hillsdale created the “gold standard for K-12 academics.”
Isn’t she great? Let’s read on:
More than 100 people took part in crafting the new science standards which have not been upgraded in 15 years. But in a series of back-and-forths with Douglas’ Department of Education, some things were altered. Some of those changes occurred in the last few months after Douglas appointed Joseph Kezele, a biology teacher at Arizona Christian University and president of the Arizona Origin Science Association to the review panel. Kezele did not testify Monday. But he told Phoenix New Times reporter Joseph Flaherty that the earth is only 6,000 years old and that there was “plenty of space on (Noah’s) Ark for dinosaurs.”
Diane likes him. Skipping a lot about the debate, we’re told:
Douglas, for her part, suggested she was happy with those last-minute changes. [Hee hee!] But she also told board members that if they’re unwilling to adopt the standards in the form she presented them, then they should scrap all of that — and the years of work that went into them — and simply adopt the entire Hillsdale-created standards.
Diane is a reasonable woman. Another excerpt:
Not all of the objections to both the Douglas-altered science standards and adoption of the Hillsdale plan came from the academic community. The Rev. David Felter, pastor at The Fountains United Methodist Church in Fountain Hills, urged the board to construct a strict line between education and religion. And even if they choose not to, Felter said it would be a mistake to believe that what’s in the Bible actually supports the idea of “creation.”
He sounds reasonable. They quote the rev:
“We believe that evolution is something that needs to be promoted, that it is not, in fact, in conflict with the Bible,” he said of Methodist beliefs. And he took a shot at those who would put creationism or the modified form of “intelligent design” into science standards. “This board is about to take the advice of people who believe the earth was created in six days and the earth is only 6,000 years old,” he said.
That’s where the news story ends. But the educational chaos in Arizona goes on. Stay tuned to this blog!
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