On Monday night, during a meeting of the Brainerd School Board in Minnesota, a science teacher and an administrator overseeing teachers were asked why the district even bothers including evolution in the curriculum.
That question came from the president of the school board.
(Good luck, children. You’re going to need it.)
Board President Sue Kern didn’t get why they were teaching what she claimed was an unproven theory from more than a century ago. (The clip below, taken from the official video of the meeting, doesn’t show the people involved.)
“Darwin’s theory was done in the mid-1800s and it’s never been proven,” Kern said. “So I’m wondering why we’re still teaching it.”
“And with regard to Christian students — how do you do that?” Kern said. “They’re taught not to agree with that, so.”
Jesus Christ, all the wrong people have all the power…
Now imagine you’re the district’s Director of Teaching and Learning Tim Murtha or Brainerd High School science teacher Craig Rezac and you have to listen to this. Do you seriously have to tell the most powerful person in the room what a scientific theory is? Or how the basics of evolution have never been in doubt since Darwin’s time? Or that all the evidence we’ve ever found since Darwin’s time has only strengthened the theory? Or that you don’t cater reality to people whose faith teaches them to avoid it? Or that there are plenty of Christians who have no problem reconciling religion and science?
To their credit (and professionalism), there are no pictures I can find of them looking at Kern with dropped jaws and wide eyes. But their responses make it clear that’s what they were thinking. The Brainerd Dispatch has the (rough) quotations:
“The interesting thing about theories is that we have to find information to disprove it,” Rezac responded. “There hasn’t been any information found to disprove the theory of evolution. As we learn more about DNA, it only solidified it.
“It’s based on observation. It’s based on fact. If we ever find any evidence to disprove it, we would amend that because that’s what we can do with a theory,” he added. “But, there hasn’t been any evidence to disprove it presented at this time.”
“This is science and science deals with facts. It doesn’t deal with belief,” Rezac said. “It doesn’t have to be a dilemma or a concern for someone to choose between Christianity and evolution — that’s not what this is about. You can actually embrace both. It’s my duty as a teacher to teach science and not teach religion. That’s the separation of church and state.”
At least the right person is in the classroom. Those were smart answers to dumb questions, at least given where they were coming from.
Murtha played it even safer, saying that the state required them to follow certain education guidelines (including the teaching of evolution), and the district would be in trouble if they didn’t teach it. Kern didn’t push back on that.
Still, the fact that she even had to ask suggests that she either doesn’t understand basic science or thinks religious dogma should override settled science. That’s a huge liability for any school district that actually wants students to succeed.
At least the people with direct contact with students understand why Kern shouldn’t be taken seriously.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)