Public School Problem--USA

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Public School Problem--USA

Post  Imagine on Sat Jul 17, 2010 10:52 pm

Before I go particularly in-depth into a problem I'm trying to fix in my public high-school, allow me to ask you this:

Should a public school have to teach human evolution, even if it is protested by parents, and students refuse to sit in the class in which it is being taught?

Thoughts, please?
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Re: Public School Problem--USA

Post  Clint on Sun Jul 18, 2010 4:05 am

Yes.

Evolution is a fact, and is the backbone of Biology. It is a a complete, thorough and scientific verifiable explanation of the diversity of life. As you would know, the theory of evolution explains the fact of evolution.

I don't care (well actually I do care) if parents protest that evolution is being taught in science classes. The reason why they're protesting, is because it goes against their unjustified belief that God created all species in their current form. Unfortunately for them, that's simply not true and it is not realities problem, it's their problem.

If you put your same question in a different context, it's instantly clear how absurd it is. The bible doesn't really say much about gravity, so the scientific explanation of gravity has no religious implications to them. But say, if a few parents has some belief that magical pixies are responsible for holding everything down to the ground, and that gravity doesn't really exist and that the theory of gravity is a conspiracy by the scientists. ...do you think schools should stop teaching about gravity in physics? Absolutely not, it'd be absurd. You could extend this to an entire load of different things - imagine a few parents protesting that they don't want physics to teach kids the earth goes around the sun, but the sun goes around the earth... Or that stalks are responsible for bringing kids to mummies, not sexual reproduction. It's simply is not true!! Evolution is a fact and it is the backbone of one of the 3 major natural science's, and is vital that it's taught and understood.

Any school that caves into superstition and stupidity and 'teaches the controversy' or actually takes ANY of these things out of science, is a school that is unworthy of being called an education center and should be shut down.

And finally... Science works on what's true in the world, and whats true is not subject to opinions, tradition, scripture or authority. The idiotic parents who obviously don't give a damn whether what they believe is true or not, can either pull their kids out of school and home-school them (which I really hope they wouldn't), or if the kid is 15 or above it is the kids choice.
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Re: Public School Problem--USA

Post  Imagine on Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:18 pm

Thank you, Clint.

I'm going into my sophomore year in an Indiana high school, and am frustrated with the science curriculum where Biology is concerned.

Last year, in a required Biology Honors class, we generally covered Darwin's theory of evolution. But when it came to the entire chapter dedicated to the evolution of mankind, we skipped it due to its "controversial nature." I plan to speak science teachers from various schools in my corporation to find the source of this decision, but trust me, I'll need all the help I can get to make my point heard and considered.

This upcoming school year, I will be taking a Human Genetics course that--from what I have heard--also skips human evolution. How do they not immediately accompany eachother?

When a public school beats around the bush with something because it is controversial, their students never learn the facts, and I have a problem with that.


If you have any(more) advice for me, don't hesitate!

Thanks.
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Re: Public School Problem--USA

Post  Niels on Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:06 pm

Imagine wrote:[...] a Human Genetics course that--from what I have heard--also skips human evolution. [...]
That's the saddest and must ridiculous thing I've heard all week.

That said, there's a point that Clint didn't cover. Clint talks about the "controversy", while leaving out the possibility of teaching neither evolution nor creation, instead leaving students in complete and blissful ignorance. If we want to discuss the right or wrong of that, we should think about what children should learn at all, and why.

Some lessons are obviously important. A child that doesn't learn to read and write will be handicapped for life. A child that doesn't learn English can't communicate online. A child that doesn't learn about hygiene and health might have a short life. A child that can't calculate can't manage his finances. These subjects are obvious.

(Just as obvious (to me) is sex education: How to avoid STD's, broken hearts and children. Alas, 50% of the population seems to disagree.)

Should people know about human history? I don't know. History classes were wasted on me: I simply don't care about the wars that formed "the Netherlands", about the warmongers that lead the massacres, or about the kings that spent half of the countries wealth. Knowledge about these affairs is of no significance for my life or wellbeing.

Knowledge of our evolution is important in my life: It helps me to understand other people, other animals and the inherent cruelty of life. Many of the things people do only make sense if you know that we are apes and that much of our brain still reasons from the perspective of the African plains.

Perhaps evolution has the same merits as physics (gravity), calculus or art. Most students will never understand it and never use it, but those who will understand will be enriched and empowered.

As for teaching human genetics without teaching the similarities with other animals: It just doesn't make sense. Human genetics only makes sense in the light of our evolution. Without evolution, there's no satisfactory explanation for junk-DNA, differences between people, inherited diseases, multiple copies of genes and our various design flaws. Teaching genetics without evolution is a sad waste of the students time. Students should sue the school for their wasted hours.
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Re: Public School Problem--USA

Post  Imagine on Thu Jul 29, 2010 12:21 am

I do believe that there are teachers at my school who would agree that Human Evolution is a neccessity to a well-rounded education, but there's so much fear that they'll lose their jobs if they speak in favor of it or any other "seperation of church and state" stance. I figure that if it comes from a student with parents who strongly support it, it will be more powerful.

Re: Human Genetics course.
I have only heard that the evolution of man is not included, but I cannot say for sure until I've taken the course, which I begin in August! I'll say for sure whether it's covered, and if so, to what extent.

Re: History
Now that I think about it, the closest thing to human evolution that I've ever studied in school WAS in my Advanced Placement World History class... It began with homo Erectus and works its way to the discovery of fire. Which still is almost nothing.

(On the note of sex education, the school system also doesn't have that. Their way of teaching abstinence is to hire a company from outside the school with a program that parents may preview because of its "controversial" nature. The program, all the while, does not teach the process of sexual intercourse or the safest ways to prevent pregnancy. Only the negative consequences are ever mentioned. This left any child who wasn't exposed to it through media, myself included, to draw their own blind conclusions.)


Any other "need-to-knows" before I approach the school board about this? I need to be as well-armed as possible because it could definitely become a battle.
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Re: Public School Problem--USA

Post  Neurotraveller on Sun Oct 17, 2010 5:18 am

I know I'm coming into this a bit late, but I have some input here. The lack of teaching evolution is high schools has set the US very far behind the other developed countries of the world in science. The fact that your schools refuses to teach certain general education topics due to their "controversial nature" is actually a breach of several constitutional rulings. Also, from a pragmatic standpoint, many universities are beginning to refuse the science courses from students coming from schools that don't teach evolution and making them start over, if they accept them at all.

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