Anti-Creationist OpEd from Lawrence Krauss
(in New Scientist, 6/18/2008)

TOPIC: anti-creationism

If you're worried about the teaching of science in our public schools, but the irony is not lost on you when scientists use ad hominem attacks and blogwrite smug anti-creationist rants that serve only to entertain the blogger's worshippers, you'll enjoy more considered commentaries like this one by Lawrence Krauss in the New Scientist:

Krauss doesn't rant. Instead, he points out quite reasonably that those making the decisions about school curriculum should have the credentials appropriate for the job:

When public committees appraise existing knowledge in order to set educational standards, or report on the status of scientific knowledge for use in the public domain, the people involved should be required to demonstrate independent, relevant expertise. School board members should not be beholden to those who have elected them, nor should they represent political constituencies. They should instead be appointed by elected officials following thorough vetting and peer review.

The health of a modern society depends on the opportunities it provides its children through education. That's too important to be left to amateurs, much less enemies of knowledge.

Of course, there is also another issue here I've only begun to ponder carefully: why do we have these so-called educational boards in the first place to establish statewide mandates on school system curricula?

Now, before you roll your eyes and blast me for being naive, realize I'm most definitely not suggesting that such curricula should be "anything goes." Far from it.

What I wonder is this: why is it that we allow our kids to be taught, and the schools to be locally administered, by individuals who don't already know what's appropriate to be taught in biology class, or chemistry class, or English class, etc? Who are the high school biology teachers we hire that have to be told, "oh, by the way, you need to teach them what a cell is, how plant cells are different from animal cells, … and, oh! by the way, teach them something about evolution, and oh! while you're at it remind them that there are still a few details about that evolution-thing that haven't been worked out yet."