Judy Wesselhoft’s letter “Kids deserve better” is prima fascie evidence as to why Oklahoma continues to lag behind much of the U.S. in science test scores. She and other loud, threatening ideological extremists have bullied our State Board of Education into expunging the word “evolution” from our K-12 PASS (Priority Academic Student Skills) objectives. Such religiously inspired intolerance is why America is rapidly losing its competitiveness in scientific advancements to the Chinese, Brazilians, Japanese, Koreans, Indians, Europeans and many others.
I teach evolution and natural selection on a daily basis in my classroom. Evolution is a fact, period. Like a magic code-cracking Occam’s razor, nothing in the sciences makes sense without it! We understand much more about evolution and natural selection than we do the theories of gravity and physics.
Heck, we are still looking for 96 percent of all the matter in the universe!
Teaching the myriad disciplines of science and pursuing human endeavors without the unifying genius of evolution and natural selection is as absurd as trying to learn mathematics without the zero. Or pretending verbs are not necessary in literature. Why not remove A, E, I, O and U from our grammar books? For all educators, this would be tantamount to Orwellian lunacy.
Not teaching evolution in our schools is very damaging to our students’ and our country’s future. In my classes, students are learning real science, about real life, in the reality-based world.
I sleep well at night knowing I am showing them the tools they need to prosper and compete in the 21st century’s global village. If Wesselhoft and the extremists keep winning, Oklahoma’s students may have to work in China or Europe to use their knowledge and skills!
“Jeff J. Brown
Brown is a seventh-grade science teacher.