All Four Lake Zurich Unit District 95 School Board Candidates Believe in Creationism February 26, 2011

All Four Lake Zurich Unit District 95 School Board Candidates Believe in Creationism

Last week, I mentioned a school district in Illinois where two of the candidates for school board were Creationists.

Another district is now trying to prove they’re even crazier.

Lake Zurich Unit District 95 (home to Lake Zurich High School), in the far northwest suburbs of Chicago, is having school board elections in April.

4 candidates are running for 3 seats.

And all 4 candidates are Creationists.

One [candidate], Chris Wallace, went so far as to say creationism is fact and evolution is just a theory.

Three of the candidates — Jim Burke, Doug Goldberg and Tony Pietro — are incumbents seeking additional four-year terms on the board. Wallace is a political newcomer.

Pietro believes creationism should be taught in science class to give students “as much information as possible” about the origins of life.

“I think we can say this is a theory,” he said Thursday. “None of us were here when man was created.”

As one commenter on Reddit noted, “None of us were here when Jesus ‘came back to life’ but they seem to buy that hook, line and sinker.”

Wallace took an even stronger stance on the issue.

“Creationism to me is factual,” he said. “Darwinism is a theory.”

As for court rulings against teaching creationism in science classes, Wallace said people must work within the law or change it.

Goldberg also emphatically supported adding creationism to the science curriculum.

Lake Zurich is headed for disaster.

No matter what happens in the election, there will be school board members — in the majority — who want to redefine science based on their faith. They don’t care what these kids learn — their selfishness and religiosity is going to prevent these children from having the proper science background necessary to succeed in college.

Maybe there’s some solace in the fact that all three current board members are Creationists but haven’t tried to change the curriculum yet… but I doubt that will last for much longer.

Even if the courts prevent them from introducing Creationism into the curriculum, the district could face a legal battle. And they would likely lose the case, but not before enough damage has been done.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Steve

    School boards should be abolished. There is such as thing as taking democracy and federalism too far.

    The standards should be set by a ministry of education at the state level and then be binding for all schools. Surely, it can’t be in in the interest of the government for there to be different educational standards or levels from city to city? Local governments can take things like different economic environments into account, but education is something else entirely.

  • That’s what we do in North Carolina, Steve. All the standards for what should be taught are set by the State Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction. Local school boards are responsible for financing and implementing the standards set by DPI. The local school boards have little control over what is taught in core subjects. (Sex education is another matter.)

  • jose

    If you are reading this and think the cartoon is a strawman or a misrepresentation, go to the forums and despair.

  • Claudia

    *sigh* Fine, have it your way folks. Soon, your town will be on the list of laughingstocks of the nation alongside Kansas and Dover PA. I’m sure when voters see that you’ve dragged your little town and its finances into an impossible to win, and expensive, legal battle, they won’t hold it against you for re-election, or anything.

    These people are beyond reasoning with. They don’t give a shit about facts. If they actually cared about or even understood scientific standards they wouldn’t promote creationism. No, deterrence is the only strategy available. Again and again, districts (and voters) need to learn that inserting creationism is only going to result in wasting money on lawsuits that they are destined to lose. Hopefully these towns can serve as object lessons for other towns that might get it into their ignorance-loving little heads that they should only destroy their children’s education at home, not at school.

  • Jon Peterson

    Unfortunately, Steve… with the way funding is provided to public schools, there does in fact need to be some kind of governing body at the district level.

    Whether they should have the power to introduce significant changes to core curriculum however, is a very different story. I agree that there should be much stronger limitations on the power of the school board, and that a federal-level body should set unalterable standards for core curriculum.

  • DJ

    Why are country’s broke and going backwards.

  • CanadianNihilist

    Sure makes me glad that we don’t have nearly the amount of religious crackpots up north.

  • Roxane

    I keep wondering whether colleges could be doing more. What if they required that applicants pass a fact-based biology class and have at least a rudimentary understanding of evolutionary biology?
    Do any of them have that kind of requirement? Some of these loonballs might be willing to restrict their kids to Oral Roberts U., but most wouldn’t.

  • i’m going to be harsh. it’s OUR fault. how many of us have run for school board or local public office? gotten involved in a local campaign? i’d bet a majority here can’t even name the name of their country supervisor or muni board members. i can’t. it’s one thing to complain, but it’s just silly to fail to admit: the fundies are better at this than we are, and until we get some game, this will keep happening. yes, i know the deck is stacked against us, and we have “other things in life that keep us too busy.” but they seem to overcome all that. why don’t we?

  • Kristi

    Hehehe. All this talk about evolution being “just a theory”. Do they not realize that theories are made up of facts? If it’s NOT factual, it cannot be a theory. Seems to me they are really as uneducated as they sound.

  • Steve

    Whenever someone says “x is only a theory”, you know that they have absolutely no clue about science or the scientific method.

    They use “theory” in the colloquial sense of “assumption” or “guess”. What in science would be called a “hypothesis”

  • I agree with dyke. We have to be willing to run for these school board positions. Leaving it to creationists is going to put our kids even further behind. I don’t want to give up on my son’s future.

    My wife and I plan to move to another NW Chicago suburb this year (to be closer to work). I will run for the school board when I’m eligible.

  • Alex

    “None of us were here when man was CREATED”…what a ridiculous sentence. Make a presupposition, ignore all evidence to the contrary, repeat. Such a sad old song.
    Also @Chicago, I wish I could say it was our fault but I think it’s also fair to say that atheists are almost totally unelectable in the US and on top of that, most atheists can’t make a living by proselytizing, they’re too concerned with facts and honesty to make decent politicians.

  • Jeff.B

    2045, the singularity. At that point, AI will not allow for fundamentalism to continue unchecked.

  • Ron in Houston

    See, it’s not just Texas that has its nutters.

  • CB

    I actually live in Lake Zurich… I am a Junior at Lake Zurich High School and I personally know that if I was going to be forced to learn about some Adam and Eve bull in my physics class or biology I would rally a boycott of science classes or something. Its incredibly ridiculous that they even considered such a thing.

  • Claudia

    @CB I’m glad to see you are aware of the issue. Since you are in the middle of what could be another battleground I would encourage you to be alert and if you see creationism insinuated into your science classroom, in addition to taking action of your own, you tell national groups that can support you. The National Center for Science Education is dedicated to protecting students like you. Tell them if you are being taught creationism or it’s bastard child, intelligent design. The Secular Student Alliance may also be a good resource, and even telling Hemant himself can help get the word out.

  • A Student at LZHS

    As another Junior who goes to LZHS, I obviously find this objectionable. When I took biology I was told that I “don’t have to believe in macroevolution” but “microevolution has been observed”. Although I don’t think we should be telling students that macroevolution is some totally out on a limb idea that can be disregarded, I thought it was a decent way to handle people whose beliefs might conflict with evolution. Creationism wasn’t mentioned so hopefully the board doesn’t try to interfere. A side note, our district is also currently in the process of deciding whether or not random drug testing should be required of students who have parking spaces or who are in any activities. Opinions on that?

    Info on the drug testing is here:

    A survey our district is sending out is here:

  • Claudia

    @A Student at LZHS I’m sorry to say that the tactic taken by your teacher is harmful as well, because it is scientifically bankrupt.

    The entire “microevolution” and “macroevolution” thing was invented by creationists who realized that it was too much of an effort to argue against things like emergent drug-resistant bacteria but didn’t want to confront the fact of evolution outright. There is no such distinction in actual evolutionary biology. I will repeat that: Actual scientists do not employ the macroevolution or microevolution distinction.

    So your teacher is spouting non-scientific creationist bullshit in your classroom and calling it science. As a biochemist I find it shameful that a teacher would abuse their position of authority in such a way to “avoid conflict”. A recent study showed that the “conflict avoiding” teachers are actually more harmful in aggregate to the education of the young than the creationists themselves.

    As an aside students shouldn’t ever learn that they have a right to not have their beliefs challenged, particularly when those beliefs come in direct conflict with scientific data. Should history teachers avoid speaking about the Holocaust in case any neo-Nazi students are around and might be offended that their Holocaust-denial beliefs are challenged? Should geology teachers simply avoid mentioning that the Earth is over 4 billion years old in case the classroom is rich in young earth creationists? Students go to school to learn, not to have their pre-existing beliefs confirmed. In the real world (note: nothing like high school) your beliefs will be challenged all the time, and a good teacher will teach students that they have to be ready to back up their beliefs with rational arguments and evidence. Only a cowardly teacher uninterested in the education of his or her students will teach bogus science in order to avoid conflict themselves.
    PS: I think drug testing is bullshit and that students are also citizens who should have rights. If a student is disruptive to the point of requiring police intervention, law enforcement can decide to test them. Otherwise, it’s none of anyone’s damn business what you do in your free time, if you’re well behaved in the school.

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