Kentucky, home of The Creation Museum, has now become a hotbed of controversy over the issue of teaching science to children.
While some people (and you know who you are) may still believe that the world is flat and bloodletting the preferred way to cure what ails you, the U.S. government is attempting to get us all on one page regarding science education. Next Generation Science Standards is a broad set of guidelines that will revamp content in grades K-12 and better prepare students for college.
In 1990, because of consistent educational rankings of 51st out of 50 states, the Kentucky General Assembly passed the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA). This was in response to a ruling the previous year by the Kentucky Supreme Court that the commonwealth's education system was unconstitutional. The court mandated that the Legislature was to enact "broad and sweeping reforms at a systemic level, statewide."
As part of the KERA, Kentucky is now about to implement Next Generation Science Standards, in an attempt to enable students in Kentucky to be competitive in a world that believes, among other things, that dinosaurs and cavemen weren't running around together.
Some religious leaders are not happy. Actually, they are pretty pissed off. They may have stood by and bitten their tongues about such hotbed heathen issues as literacy and basic knowledge of math, but they are now drawing a line in the sand when it comes to science.
Matt Singleton, a Baptist minister in Louisville, called teachings on evolution "a lie that has led to drug abuse, suicide and other social afflictions." (An independent study of drug users confirmed that most did, in fact, believe in evolution but a direct link has, as of this posting, not been found between a belief in evolution and drug use).
"Outsiders are telling public school families that we must follow the rich man's elitist religion of evolution, that we no longer have what the Kentucky Constitution says is the right to worship almighty God."
The former CEO of Bear Sterns graciously volunteered to represent rich men with elitist religions, and added his thoughts about the controversy. "I am a firm believer in almighty God. Only a just God would allow me to survive the economic meltdown that my company, among others, precipitated, one that resulted in wiping out $19.2 trillion of household wealth in the US and as many as 8.8 million jobs. Not only did my personal financial wealth remain intact, it has grown very nicely since then. If that's not proof of God's existence, then I don't know what is."
Singleton was not deterred. He called NGS "a fascist method that teaches that our children are the property of the state."
Blaine Ferrell, a representative from the Kentucky Academy of Sciences, a science advocacy group that endorses the standards, said "Students in the commonwealth both need and deserve 21st-century science education grounded in inquiry, rich in content and internationally benchmarked."
Singleton reserved comment until he had time to familiarize himself with the words "inquiry," "content," and "benchmarked."