Fwd: Re: Evolution deleted....

Ken Kinman kinman at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Oct 6 22:35:05 CDT 1999

      Since Robert is a student teacher in biology in Kentucky, and since he
gave permission to pass it on, I thought it prudent to pass it on to the
whole list.
    I was surprised to learn that the changes were made by a committee that
was supposed to only correct spelling and grammatical errors.  Sounds to me
like someone overstepped the bounds of their authority, and unlike the
Kansas case, the Board of Education apparently had nothing to do with it at
all.  Almost sounds like an unfortunate prank by a rogue committee that had
no business doing what it did.
     But beyond that, I am a little disturbed by a teacher referring to
evolution as the "e" word, although I assume parts of western Kentucky are
as conservative as parts of western Kansas.  And the Kentucky law allowing
lip service to evolution and an inordinate emphasis on creationism seems a
possible candidate for challenge on grounds such as separation of church and
    However, even if a High School teacher gives evolution poor treatment,
the more intelligent students are likely to see through it.  I thought my
high school biology course was pretty bad, but had a good biology teacher
previously in Junior High, and of course excellent teachers at KU.  One
teacher can be a problem, but that is true of any subject, and my own
problems at the High School biology level didn't severely deter me.  I guess
that is why I have faith that these problems will work themselves out
eventually once the public is made aware of them.  Anyway, Robert's comments
are give below.
                          -------Ken Kinman
>From: "ROBERT H. NEIDLINGER" <neidlrh at wku.edu>
>To: kinman at HOTMAIL.COM
>Subject: Re: Evolution deleted....
>Date: Wed, 6 Oct 1999 22:27:10 -0500
>It is not as simple as it sounds.  If you would like to post this to the
>list by all means do, if not...
>I am student teaching in a County High School in Western Kentucky, the
>subject I teach is biology.  My first lessons have been on cell biology,
>and when I brought up some advanced subjects, such as endosymbiosis the
>cooperating teacher said "oh the E word".  It appears that although it is
>expected to be taught, what is really taught is more up to the teacher then
>you would expect.  What is more, the textbooks are chosen at the county or
>school level.  If they decide to pick a book that keeps away from the top
>school level.  If they decide to pick a book that keeps away from the topic
>or covers it poorly, then it is covered poorly.
>There is also one more thing that rarely comes up.  there is a state law on
>the books that states that if a teacher covers evolution they can also
>teach the theory of creation as presented in the bible.  Students who
>answer questions on the state proficiency exams (biology) are to get credit
>for that answer.  What this means to me as a teacher is that I can simply
>bring up Darwin and then turn around and teach a week long block on the
>creationist ideas.
>This is compounded by the fact that the changes were made by a committee
>that was put together to make spelling and grammatical corrections.  The
>corrections was put together to make spelling and grammatical corrections.
>The corrections were made without the higher levels of the Kentucky
>Education Board having any indication that they were being made.  (I know I
>sound like I'm hinting at a "conspiracy theory" going on, but the fact that
>it this is the word coming from the Board of Education says something, what
>I'm not sure, but...)
>I witnessed evolution being covered today.  The class was an advanced
>placement class.  The teacher covered descent with modification, origin of
>species, macroevolution (fossil record and systematics) and the origins of
>life in less then 90 minutes.  At the end of the "lecture" one of the
>students said (after the recent education board's decisions were discussed)
>that she didn't have to "believe it to learn it".  The speed at which it
>was covered was bad enough.  The butchering of Lamarck's ideas and writings
>made me cringe.  But the comments by the students really made me wonder
>where we are headed.
>I'm afraid that those who have not taught in the public school, or have had
>the opportunity to at least observe for some time, have no idea what is
>going on out there.
>I believe that I may have to go back to teaching that there is a little And
>even when they allow us to teach it, getting the students to stay awake can
>be worse then dealing with the school board.
>Sorry, tough day with a bad cooperating teacher and then this.  In short,
>it is not being taught properly and there is a chance that soon it will not
>be allowed to be taught at all.

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