Debate Forum Right, 8/16/11

Kelly Kohls Kelly Kohls

Creationism or evolution or both

By Kelly Kohls
Board member, Springboro Community City School District

Kelly Kohls

At a recent school board meeting I asked the Springboro Schools curriculum director a few questions about curriculum that community members had previously asked me. The questions posed were related to teaching creationism as a supplement to evolution (current public education does not include creationism content). These questions were not answered that night, so the subject was left open for investigation.

There was no further discussion by the board nor a vote for anything related to this topic. A Dayton Daily News article published the next day implied that the district was almost ready to teach this controversial topic, and that falsehood sparked both community and national debates. Some believe that evolution is based on science and that creationism is a belief. However, evolution is fraught with scientific voids that leave students with many questions. Teaching creationism is simply teaching a belief in human history.

Also, teaching students that there are two trains of thought is not advocating for any religious views but rather encouraging a critical look at these two subjects. Each student can then investigate the science and beliefs of their own family and heritage. Certainly, no matter which theory one believes, they both have merit and are important for teaching critical thinking to students already being asked to think critically about other controversial issues.

The U.S. was founded on a search for religious freedom and it contained a belief that humans were created. The Native Americans that were in this country before the European settlers arrived also believed in creationism. From a historical perspective, creationism is a part of American history.

The debate of this issue has brought many comments to light: one teacher stated he taught this topic in a history class; another teacher (see below) shares his opinion which others say is illegal. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that schools may not require the teaching of creationism while other smaller district courts have ruled that public schools cannot advocate for creationism. Historians, philosophers and educators disagree and argue about this topic.

A former teacher wrote to me last week:

I am a retired West Virginia public school teacher. For the last five years of my full-time career, with the full knowledge (and dismay) of state and county school officials, as well as the ACLU, I demonstrated to my students that mathematics proves beyond the shadow of doubt that evolutionism is nonsense. The students saw that the evidence clearly shows that every item associated with humans, animals and plants are intelligent designs and intelligent design is science. I always let the students figure it out for themselves and allowed them to believe what they chose, but at least they were exposed to the scientific facts that extremists want to censor from the minds of public school students. Evolution is more impossible than the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and the Headless Horseman. Stand firm for true science.
Yours truly,
Karl Priest

If public schools are prohibited from teaching science curriculum that contains theories and beliefs, there are many courses that would not be taught in public schools such as psychology, human development, art interpretation, history, economics etc.

A science is referred to as a soft or hard science based on its ability to answer the questions posed from that science. A soft science refers to a science where the answers are not exact or proven. A soft science is where there could be more than one answer and the science used needs to be applied to the solution.

If we are really responsible for teaching analytical methodology, then how can we omit the use of beliefs and theories which then motivate a student to work toward the answer that makes the most sense to them? The most famous scientists of this world have been made so with the motivation to prove something wrong or right. We should let our students prove how humans came into and evolved into existence. It is about science, not religion. Single mindedness will destroy critical and investigative learning and thinking. We need to strengthen our youth in this aspect of education. Question marks in a young mind motivate investigation and innovation. Learning isn’t always comfortable but creating inquiry is inspirational.

This debate will likely continue and get very heated, giving ample reason to advocate the following:

1.  For parents to choose a public school that inspires critical, evaluative and inspirational education, follows the traditional beliefs and teaches both points of view for all subjects, or to choose an education system that advocates for strictly one side of a controversial issue: creating the great scientists of the world, or making students politically correct.

2.  That school choice would allow a family to choose a public school system that follows a philosophy that more closely matches family values.

Kelly Kohls has five children currently enrolled in the Springboro Community City School system. She is currently an adjunct instructor at the Art Institute of Ohio in Cincinnati. Kelly is committed to ensuring that the children of the Springboro community receive an excellent education. Reach DCP guest writer Kelly Kohls at

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