Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Ohio Action Alert

Creationist members of the Ohio Board of Education are preparing renewed attacks on evolution and, as if that weren't enough, they also plan to launch attacks on climate science, cloning, and stem-cell research, as well.

Last February, the board approved Resolution 31 which removed ID-inspired stealth attacks on evolution from state science standards. The board also directed its Achievement Committee to determine whether replacement language was needed for the misleadingly labeled "critical analysis" sections they removed.

It's been more than six months now since that directive was issued, but the Achievement Committee has yet to hold a vote. While they've dawdled, creationist activists on the Board have been developing a "teach the controversy" proposal. It's on the agenda for next week's Achievement Committee meeting.

According to RSR's sources in Ohio, the "critical thinking - teach the controversy" proposal takes a legitimate passage from the National Science Standards and sabotages it by tacking on a section directing students to apply it preferentially to evolution, global warming, cloning and stem cell research -- four areas of science disliked by certain right-wing religious groups.

The effect would be to undermine students’ understanding of scientific methods and processes by implying that evolution, climate science, stem cells and cloning are shaky science that should be treated with special scrutiny. This strategy opens up the science classroom for co-optation as a religious conversion opportunity.

Defenders of science education in Ohio need your help. They are asking supporters to write the Ohio Board of Education today. Politely urge them to hold a vote of the entire Board -- at their Tuesday Sept 12 meeting -- establishing that additional language is not needed to replace the creationist nonsense removed last February.

Instead, urge the board to devote their energy to closing the achievement gap, solving the school funding crisis, and other genuine issues. They should resist pressure from religious extremists to corrupt science education and co-opt the classroom for religious conversion.

Politely insist they stand up for freedom of religion and good science in Ohio public schools.

Here are the phone numbers and e-mail links for Ohio school board members:

Virgil Brown: Virgil.Brown@ode.state.oh.us, (216) 851-3304 (voice) (216) 851-2900 (fax)
Jim Craig: Jim.Craig@ode.state.oh.us, (330) 492-5533 (voice) (330) 493-1804 (fax)
Emerson Ross: Eross@Buckeye-express.com, (419) 537-1562 (voice) (419) 531-1509 (fax)
Jennifer Sheets: Jennifer.Sheets@ode.state.oh.us, (740) 992-2151
Colleen Grady: Colleen.Grady@ode.state.oh.us, (440) 572-0239 (voice) (440) 238-0874 (fax)
Sam Schloemer: Sam.Schloemer@ode.state.oh.us, (513) 821-4145 (voice) (513) 821-2829 (fax)
Jane Sonenshein: Jane.Sonenshein@ode.state.oh.us, (513) 831-1870 (voice) (440) 238-0874 (fax)
Jennifer Stewart: Jennifer.Stewart@ode.state.oh.us, (740) 452-4558 (voice) (740) 452-7754 (fax)
Sue Westendorf: sue.westendorf@ode.state.oh.us, (419) 352-2908 (voice) (309) 412-9790 (fax)
Carl Wick: Carl.Wick@ode.state.oh.us, (937) 433-1352 (voice) (937) 438-0678 (fax)
Martha Wise: Martha.Wise@ode.state.oh.us, (440) 934-4935 (voice) (440) 934-6089 (fax)
Stepehn Millet: smillett@columbus.rr.com, (614) 424-5335 (voice) (614) 424-3534
Eric Okerson: eokerson@graydon.com, (513) 629-2814
Robin Hovis: robhovis@earthlink.net, (330) 674-5000 (voice) (330) 674-5002 (fax)
Lou Ann Harold: LouAnn.Harrold@ode.state.oh.us, (419) 675-1743
Michael Cochran: ota@ohiotownships.org, (614) 864-2338 (voice) (614) 863-9751 (fax)
Deborah Owens Fink: deb@uakron.edu, (330) 972-8079 (voice) (330) 972-5798 (fax)

You can get more information on the current situation in Ohio at the OhioHope, and VoteScience websites.


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