Reactions to Schools Without Rules article

The Orlando Sentinel published an article a few days ago highlighting the atrocious curriculum some voucher-accepting private schools use: Private schools’ curriculum downplays slavery, says humans and dinosaurs lived together.

Now we’re starting to see reactions to the story. First there is Tampa Bay Times columnist John Romano writing about the deeper problems the Sentinel story exposes: Florida’s schools engaged in double standard of epic proportions.

This isn’t about whether you believe in Adam and Eve or the Origin of Species. It isn’t even about whether the Legislature is circumventing the state Constitution with its voucher program.

The bigger picture is that the state has created an uneven playing field. It is pushing private and charter schools as being more innovative and parent-friendly, while at the same time handcuffing traditional public schools with more and more onerous regulations.

Surely, there is something in those religious textbooks that covers hypocrisy.

The Orlando Sentinel’s sister paper the Sun-Sentinel noted that it’s hard to have a conversation about whether private schools that accept public money should teach creationism in science class when members of the general public believe creationism has more validity than evolution: Were dinosaurs and humans alive at the same time? (And is that debate a good use of your money?)

Reader Bob Zydach emailed to take issue with this statement from the initial article: “For the record, dinosaurs died out about 66 million years ago, and the Homo Sapiens species is less than a million years old.”

“These are unproven theoretical ages for dinosaurs and Homo Sapiens,” Zydach wrote. “You need to do your homework before you report things as facts. Just because a lot of people say it, it does not make it a fact. These are theories when I went to school and are still theories today.”

And the Orlando Sentinel recently ran a couple of letters to the editor responding to the original story: 2 views on private religious schools.

The article covered a lot of ground, including academics, racial discrimination and what a science teacher termed “plain-old, misguided, bad, horrible science.” Yet it gave no voice to the idea that the theory of evolution (no matter what current public-school texts say) has never been elevated from the status of theory or that creation scientists have built equally complex models to support their theories. Just ask Answers in Genesis or Institute for Creation Research or Apologia.

Good grief, “the theory of evolution has never been elevated from the status of theory”. My guest opinion column in the Tallahassee Democrat needs to be passed around a lot more: Banish ‘just a theory’ dunces with sound science education.

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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