Thursday, March 22, 2007


Another Martyr for Critical Thinking

More than anything else, Kris Helphinstine says he wanted to teach his students critical thinking. The part-time biology teacher at Sisters High School out in Oregon wanted, with all his heart and soul, to give his students accurate information and to get them thinking.

"Critical thinking is vital to scientific inquiry," says Helphinstine, who has a master's degree in science from Oregon State.

That's when he showed his class a PowerPoint presentation linking evolution, Nazi Germany, and Planned Parenthood.

Mr. Helphinstine found the Biology textbook provided by the district to be just a bit too dogmatic. It was lacking in accurate information. So he supplemented it with more objective material that just happened to be chock full of biblical references.

Parents in the district, not having benefited from the critical thinking skills taught by Mr. Helphinstine, mistakenly thought he was teaching creationism.

"He took passages that had all kinds of Biblical references," says parent John Rahm whose daughter is in the class. "It prevented her from learning what she needed to learn."

If only Rahm and other parents had been steeped in critical thinking skills they would have known better.

"I never taught creationism," insists Helphinstine. "I know what it is, and I went out of my way not to teach it."

He was fired Monday.


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