Et tu, Pinellas County School Board?

The list of public school education decision makers who think evolution in the science classroom needs to be muddled with non-scientific ideas is growing. The St. Petersburg Times education blog, The Gradebook, reports that four, count ’em, four members of the Pinellas County school board think evolution needs to be balanced with “other theories.”

A majority of Pinellas County School Board members – including the immediate past president of the National School Boards Association – think that if Florida children are taught about evolution, they should learn other theories on the origin of life as well.

Board members Jane Gallucci, Carol Cook, Peggy O’Shea and Nancy Bostock (shown above, left to right) stopped short of saying that faith-based theories should be included in the state’s proposed new science standards, which the state Board of Education likely will vote on in February.

But all four said such theories should be taught in public school classrooms.

And the winner of the “I have no idea what I’m talking about, but I’ll state my opinion as if I do” award is:

O’Shea suggested that parents who object to evolution being taught to their children might be able to opt them out of that day’s lesson. “I’d probably ideally like to keep it all out of the classroom,” she said. “If it’s going to create this much controversy, how important is it?”

The very foundation of biology? The theory that a proper understanding of life sciences is based on? Naaaaaah … not important at all. While we’re at it, how about we just not bother to teach about punctuation in writing classes. All that mess about commas is just too controversal, so why teach it?

Attention all school board members: If you don’t tell your dentist about other ideas you heard concerning dental care, then I assume you are trusting that professional to do the job he or she is trained and experienced to do. If you don’t tell your auto mechanic that you think that one oily thingy should go here instead of there, then I assume you are trusting him or her to do the job he or she is trained and experienced to do. If, however, you are the kind of person who runs around pretending to be an expert at everything, well, I guess there is not much I can do about you.

However, if you recognize an expert when you see one, and you tend to trust that expert’s judgment over your own when you don’t have a similar expertise, then maybe you can be reached.

The new state science standards were written by experts. They chose to make evolution a big part of the standards for a reason. Likewise, they chose to exclude intelligent design and other nonsense precisely because they know it’s nonsense.

Have a question? Feel free to find and ask an expert. There are plenty of those experts right there in your own schools. Gather information, weigh the importance of the information based on the expertise of your sources, and then speak your mind based on good research rather than just how you feel. As a school board member, that’s your job! Find experts. Listen to experts. Use reasoning skills to arrive at a well-supported conclusion.

This is not about what the majority of the public feel is right. Toss out the popularity contest. Our school children need you to do your jobs!

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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4 Responses to Et tu, Pinellas County School Board?

  1. mrcnfox says:

    Alternatives in education?
    What, Like the way American schools teach islam as a viable alternative to christianity in religious education classes?
    Is that the sort of variety they want to encourage?
    They must be a bunch of hypocritical twats then.
    The type who ignore fact in favour of magic.
    Quite frankly, when I hear the absurdities spoken by godpods I am quite prepared to believe that they have only has 6000 years to evolve.
    American School Godpod Governors.
    Americas version of the Taliban Educational And Enlightenment Department.
    God bless all their stifled little minds.

  2. Milander says:

    …and America wonders why we, in the rest of the western world, think they are all a bunch of idiots. I died of shame today when Tony Blair admitted that he had prayed to God before making a decision on whether to attack Iraq or not.

    I swear I’m going to start a war against religion and kill anyone who professes to follow a religion. It’s time for the anti-religion to stand up and be counted.

  3. William says:

    Members of the Pinellas County School Board,

    Thank you for trying to teach theories other than evolution in our schools. You are right to stand by your decision. Evolution is not yet an absolute statement, but a theory. I would especially like to thank the following members for their statements:

    “The entire theory of evolution is not scientific fact. Intelligent design balances it out.” — Nancy Bostock, Chairperson

    “I’d probably ideally like to keep it all [evolution and Intelligent Design] out of the classroom. If it’s going to create this much controversy, how important is it?” — Peggy O’Shea, Vice Chairperson

    “I think that students should be given the opportunity to view all theories on how man evolved and let their science background and their religious background take over as to which one they believe in. ” — Jane Gallucci, Member

    “To teach one [evolution] as if nothing else existed, I think we’re doing our students a disservice.” — Carol Cook, Member

    I can’t agree with you more. Evolution has offended many people, especially when it has not been proven yet. We must teach our children all theories on how men come into being so that they can make a rational decision themselves. If there is anything I object to, however, it is the fact that Intelligent Design seem to be the other “alternative” you are offering, particularly since there is another theory that is currently growing in popularity. Before you decide to change our school’s curriculum, please take some time to read over the materials available at the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    The church not only provides a theory that is becoming increasingly popular, it also provides many scientific evidence to back up its plans. Furthermore, it makes perfect sense that all of us originated from an omnipotent being known as the Flying Spaghetti MonsterI, who created the universe out of his image, and deposited human beings on Earth. Furthermore, despite the best efforst of evolutionists everywhere, it has yet been disproven. On the contrary, there is so much evidence supporting the theory, we can almost say for certain that we are, in fact, created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    As a pastafarian, I would very much like to see my religion introduced in our classroom, and I trust that, since the Pinellas County school board would like to give students the opportunity to view all theories on how men come into being, you will also introduce our almighty Flying Spaghetti Monster to our student. Once again, thank you for your efforts to expand our students’ minds, and rest assured that my fellow pastafarians and I will continue to fight for your cause by introducing our supreme being to the world.



  4. Pingback: Florida Citizens for Science » Blog Archive » More about Pinellas mess

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