As American children return to school, many will be enrolled in science classes where they will learn the important basics about the Big Bang, evolution, and global warming. Yet, even today a number of states get away with teaching creationism alongside evolution in public schools—schools supported by your tax dollars.
Many of the states that teach creationism are, not too surprisingly, in the South. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal recently signed into law an anti-science bill that continues to allow the teaching of creationism in public schools and provides public funds to private schools that encourage the teaching of creationism over science. Over the past year legislators in Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Dakota have introduced creationism bills. Most recently, Ohio State Representative Andy Thompson introduced a similar bill and was quoted as saying, “I think it would be good for [students] to consider the perspectives of people of faith.” (The American Humanist Association recently sent an action alert to its Ohio members on this issue.)
It’s time to introduce federal legislation that will ban the teaching of creationism in all public schools. Teaching creationism is like teaching Greek mythology as fact. And because the United States is a nation of many different religions, not just Christianity, teaching creationism is a serious violation of the separation of church and state.
Most jobs in the 21st century will be in science and technology, and these jobs will be increasingly important for our economy. But most of all, a proper understanding of the scientific method, theories, and facts help students learn how to think and solve problems. It’s the best kind of real world education there is.
Religious teaching belongs in Sunday schools and privately funded schools. We owe all students at public schools the opportunity to learn about real science.
If your child attends a public or state-funded charter school where creationism or intelligent design is being taught, please contact the American Humanist Association’s legal center.