Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

December 11, 2012

Districts weigh in on ‘truth in education’

Legislator set to address issue of creationism in public schools

Indiana lawmakers are again set to take up the issue of creationism in classrooms, at least indirectly, but local educators say it’s still too early to tell how it could impact their school curriculum.

“It’s mostly conceptual at this point,” said Maconaquah School Corp. Superintendent Doug Arnold.

Senate Education Committee chairman Dennis Kruse said he will introduce a measure that encourages students to question a broad range of topics in the classroom, including evolution.

Kruse led a failed effort during the 2012 session to allow teaching of creationism. He said this new proposal won’t say that religion should be taught or evolution questioned.

But under the proposal, teachers would be protected from sanctions if they teach against the established scientific principle of evolution.

Josh Youngkin, program officer for public policy and legal affairs for the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, is helping Kruse and lawmakers in other states promote the measure.

He said students would be allowed to press teachers to present evidence and facts for statements about issues like the shared origins of mammals.

“The teacher would not be barred from saying, ‘Let’s look at both sides of the evidence, and you guys can basically make a judgment,’ rather than just accepting passively or memorizing by rote these facts and stating back these arguments on a test which would eventually determine where you go to college,” he said.

Arnold said this measure likely wouldn’t change anything in his classrooms, even if it passes.

Arnold said his teachers don’t bring up creationism in their curriculum, but if students bring up the topic during lessons on evolution, teachers will “diplomatically” answer their questions.

Arnold said that seems to be the goal of the new measure: allowing children the freedom to ask about the hot-button issues.

“Simply put, our science teachers are already doing this,” he said. “It’s good to be open and allow those types of questions. You present the facts, and kids decide for themselves their position on it. I don’t see this as significantly controversial legislation.”

Eastern Howard School Corp. Superintendent Tracy Caddell said he supports the measure.

It’s good to foster open discussions in the classroom, he said. Caddell said he doesn’t see any harm in talking about creationism. Students should be provided multiple explanations about the origins of humanity, he said. Then they decide for themselves what they believe, the superintendent said.

“I’m biased,” he said. “I’m a Christian. But there’s lots of creation stories that could be used in the classroom.”

It’s not just limited to creationism, though. Caddell said there other contentious issues that deserve a place in the classroom, like stem cell research and climate change.

“Creationism or other controversial issues still have educational value,” Caddell said. “There’s more to education than the three Rs.”

Some of these issues can teach values and morals, something he’s a proponent of, he said. That’s probably not the popular stance in today’s society, though, Caddell said.

The superintendent said he is a little concerned about the part of the proposal that allows students to question teachers about lessons and ask for proof and evidence to back it up.

“I don’t know how far they will take it,” he said.

It’s one thing to ask for evidence about creationism or climate change.

“But there are scientific concepts that are well-established,” Caddell said “For example, it’s a well-known fact that the world is round. Could a teacher be challenged by a student to prove that?”

If that’s the case, Caddell said he can see where students might challenge teachers often to get out of doing classwork.

“That would take up a lot of resources and time,” he said.

Other educators were a little more hesitant to weigh in on the issue.

“This topic sure has some history,” Taylor Community Schools Superintendent John Magers said. “I don’t really care to get into it right now. My role is to do whatever state statute allows me to do.”

Arnold said he will have to sit back and wait until the legislation is introduced and he can read the language for himself. But he’s not all that concerned about it, he said.

“I don’t see a piece of legislation improving what we do now,” he said.

The Associated Press also contributed to this story.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • KFD Rescue 2 Staffing changes leave Kokomo Fire Department with one rescue truck A shift in how the Kokomo Fire Department is staffed and responds to calls has some firefighters worried they will not have access to all the equipment they need. City officials, however, maintain there will be no change in the quality of service pro

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • BMV offering driver tests in 11 languages INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles is now offering drivers tests in 11 languages other than English that are spoken across Indiana. BMV Commissioner Don Snemis said Wednesday the decision was made at the urging of businesses, un

    July 31, 2014

  • Tionna Brown 02 Kokomo celebrates Tionna Brown's gold medal victories Little boys with pretend gold medals around their necks fought Wednesday to get their pictures taken with a pint-sized superstar who had won three real gold medals for herself. Twelve-year-old Tionna Brown just returned from Texas after competing in

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Kokomo Police officers reach out to public Tuesday Kokomo police will be out in full force Tuesday in area neighborhoods. In addition to their regular patrols, officers will be out getting to know residents and the issues they may have as part of National Night Out, a crime prevention event. National

    July 30, 2014

  • Feds cite Indiana Medicaid fraud unit over notices INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal agency found that the Indiana attorney general's office didn't give proper notice in nearly a quarter of the Medicaid fraud cases it helped prosecute in recent years. A report from the Department of Health and Human Serv

    July 30, 2014

  • Indianapolis man buys 2 $1M tickets in 3 months INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indianapolis man is celebrating his second $1 million Hoosier Lottery prize in the past three months. Lottery officials say Robert Hamilton won a $1 million prize from a scratch-off ticket he bought last week at a convenience s

    July 30, 2014

  • Frankfort teen dies after rescue from Indiana city pool FRANKFORT (AP) — Authorities say a 15-year-old boy pulled from a central Indiana city pool has died. Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes says Adrian Alanis died in an Indianapolis hospital on Tuesday, the day after he was rescued from the deep end of the

    July 30, 2014

  • Pence pushing Medicaid alternative during DC trip INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is heading to Washington to seek federal approval of his proposed state-run alternative to traditional Medicaid in order to expand health care coverage for low-income residents. The governor's office says P

    July 30, 2014

  • Two arrested in purse-, wallet-snatching spree

    Two people were arrested late last week in relation to a string of purse and wallet thefts from shopping carts in local department stores.

    July 30, 2014

  • YMCA front rendering NIPSCO donates $50K to YMCA campaign The Northern Indiana Public Service Company donated $50,000 Tuesday to the Kokomo Family YMCA’s Beyond the Bricks campaign to build a new Y in downtown Kokomo.“The Y is a great resource for the community, so we’re glad to help it grow and add to the

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries