Using a variety of false arguments, politicians, especially state legislators, are corrupting public education. They are attempting to redefine science, personal health and history. Attacks on public education have historically emanated from parent groups or zealots. More recently, however, they have come from legislative bodies.
In the teaching of science, politicians wish to deny both evolution and climate change. In South Dakota, SB 55 stated that teachers could not “deviate, and possibly contradict, … science standards adopted by the state.” Fortunately, the bill was defeated. Similar legislation, aimed at controlling the teaching of evolution and climate change, has been introduced in Indiana, Florida and Oklahoma.
State legislators certainly have the right to believe items based on religious faith. There is no justification, however, for them to require that teachers teach faith-based beliefs in public schools. Convictions without evidence, when taught as science, are inappropriate and possibly dangerous.
In the area of personal health, some legislators do not want students to learn about sex. They object to the teaching of sex education, the mention of contraception or the mention of biological terms for body parts. Legislation to control what is taught in personal health has been introduced in both Virginia and New Hampshire. The Virginia bill has twice been vetoed by the governor. Simply put, the personal health of our young people is depended on, and improves, when they have knowledge of how their bodies work.
Recently there has been a more intrusive attack on the teaching of history. Legislators in several states want to establish that our Founding Fathers were devout Christians, holy men who lived pure lives. Conflict arose in Tennessee over the teaching of “My World History” when some claimed that the…