Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Two Things That Should Not be Discussed in Public Schools

Just like when you're with friends, the two things you don't talk about are the two things that shouldn't be in public schools.

The first is religious doctrine (BBC, Bush weighs into evolution debate):
President George Bush has started a national debate in the US over the teaching of evolution in school.

The president has suggested that a theory known as "intelligent design" should be taught in the classroom.

It proposes that life is too complex to have developed through evolution, and an unseen power must have had a hand.
And the second, personal politics (Maple Ridge News, NDP calls for peace in public schools).
VICTORIA - Education Minister Shirley Bond says teachers should keep their political agenda out of public schools, despite a court ruling that upholds their right to bring political messages into school bulletin boards and parent-teacher meetings.

The B.C. Court of Appeal issued a split decision last week, upholding the B.C. Teachers' Federation's right to post political messages in schools and distribute them to parents.

Two judges ruled that teachers' right to freedom of speech should be protected. The dissenting judge said teachers can participate in politics as private citizens and shouldn't do so on the job.
Promoting a religious or a political agenda in public schools is not appropriate. It's not the place. Neither helps students read, write, or do arithmetic.

Religion and politics are personal choices that should be decided by people themselves and within themselves. Not at the direction of somebody else and certainly not in a one-sided manner.

I'm all for courses teaching religious theory and beliefs, as well as I'm for courses in political science and ideologies. I think both kinds of courses benefit someone's understanding of the world. But, teaching "intelligent design" in a public school science class without it being in the context of a religious study course? I don't think that should be allowed.

Plus, notes on the bulletin board that say "BC Lib3r@|$ SuXXoRZ!!11~!" aren't helpful either. I, of course, made that up, but it's still inappropriate for teachers and especially teacher unions to campaign their politics to students.


Anonymous said...

The US is becoming wierdly theocratic.

Anonymous said...

And leftist teachers' unions using Evolution in science, biology etc. classes to prove the nonexistence of God (or disprove God's existence) is okay?

(Maybe more time should be spent on typing classes, too.)

Jim (Progressive Right) said...

I'm not aware of any school using a science class to "disprove" the existence of God.

That would not be okay either.

Jess said...

"Intelligent design," as I understand it, is to be taught with evolution, and having been taught in a U.S. public school, I can say that evolution- which itself is not proven (well, specifically macro-evolution is not)- is absoutely taught as the only acceptable viewpoint, and students are frequent discouraged from having any religious viewpoint in any course, not simply science. So yes, Jim, Andy is dead on. To teach one theory as fact to the neglect of all other theories is wrong.
Also, having religious views taught or expressed in schools, or in public life is not theocratic. The Constitution states that Congress cannot make a statute establishing a religion. Teaching "intelligent design" does not do this. Judging by anonymous' misuse of "theocratic," perhaps we should teach more grammar, spelling, and English courses as well.

Jess said...

Oops, I meant to write "frequently discouraged."

Yep, grammar needs to be taught more here.