Wednesday, June 02, 2004

One size does not fit all in science education 

A children's book writer yesterday writes about how her nationally-awarded biology bookwas uninvited to a classroom because her booked talked about evolution.
The day before my presentation, the school sent me an e-mail. The faculty and the principal had discussed whether it was a good idea to share a book about evolution in their school and they decided that without much more in-depth discussion, it was not. They hadn't shared my evolution book with the students, and they preferred that I not share it as well. Later, on the phone, I learned that parents with certain religious beliefs would object to the presentation of this book.

The school was asking me to censor myself, but the idea didn't much appeal to me. I knew I would do a disservice to myself and other writers by agreeing to this surprise, last-minute request.
Even though it appears Ms. Peters is imbued with the environmentalist religion herself, I think she has a point. But too, the parents of these children -- her book may have been aimed at a K-3 audience -- might have some reason to suggest that their children are not yet ready for this lesson.

In an otherwise horrible pilot on the WB for a show called "Summerland" that was on our TV last night (not my choice), a young boy asks questions about what Heaven looks like after his parents die in an accident. Where do you want your children getting that lesson? If you don't want the government teaching it to them, then perhaps a government school simply isn't the place for you. (But heavens forfend if you should ever get a voucher to help you with that choice!)