Archive for April 3rd, 2008
We’ve been aware that those in support of the creationism bills (so-called “academic freedom” bills) have been fishing for Florida teachers who feel they’ve been persecuted in some way for teaching information contrary to evolution. The Florida Family Policy Counsel first put out this call in late March.
One of their most vocal fishermen, David Brackin, is casting his line where he thinks he’ll find the most bites: InJesus.com and the Christian Education Association International. Once again, tell me how these bills have nothing to do with religion.
Over the past month I’ve been able to present to the Florida Department of Education why I think the new standards need to be changed and I’ve met personally with Florida Senate Majority Leader Daniel Webster, Florida House of Representatives Speaker Marco Rubio, and several other legislators about an Academic Freedom bill. Each of the legislators said that my testimony as a teacher that has been confronted about teaching the weaknesses in the theory of evolution is critical to the passing of the bill and that we need to hear from more teachers with that experience. The next hearing on this bill will be the week of April seventh.
Brackin, a teacher at Chain of Lakes Middle School, claims to have been discriminated against for teaching evolution’s weaknesses. So far we haven’t heard any specifics concerning Brackin’s own tale of woe. What supposed “weaknesses” did he try to teach in his classroom? How did word of this get to his assistant principal? Did someone complain, or was Brackin himself very vocal in his views, or is there some other explanation? What made the assistant principal think Brackin was mixing religion into the science classroom? In what way does his current principal “support academic freedom”? What is Brackin currently teaching in his classroom? Keep in mind that Brackin is on the record as supporting intelligent design.
This is not an attempt to persecute Brackin for his views, which he is welcome to. However, there are many questions that need to be answered if he wants to continue to stand as an example of discrimination. His version of past events need to be explained in more detail and independently verified. His own statements also raise questions as to whether he is teaching the approved and appropriate curriculum right now.
It would be incredibly irresponsible of Florida’s legislators to just accept his story, or the stories of anyone else reeled in, at face value.