COLLEGE STATION, Texas (U-WIRE) — The Oklahoma House of Representatives has made a move to change the way science books read. An amendment to a proposed bill will ensure that books approved by the State Textbook Committee must acknowledge that “human life was created by one God of the universe.”
The bill originally required the textbook committee contain two elementary and two secondary-level teachers. However, the bill leapfrogged its way into changing the way science is taught in Oklahoma public schools. Under the guise of doing what is best, some members of the House of Representatives are trying to take the fundamental basis of modern day science and manipulate it to their own personal beliefs.
Some members of the Oklahoma House are attempting to take away the right of school children to get an unbiased education. They are allowing the committee to not only add creationism into school, but state it as fact. By putting creationism alone into textbooks without the theory of evolution as well, the children do not have the opportunity to make a decision on their own. When the committee is allowed to stomp on rights and state that creationism is fact, children will be taught a biased theory and will be hindered in their education.
Many classes, tests and accepted thoughts in the science community are based on evolution.
Many critics argue science education is already biased by not teaching creationism. This might seem true, but the fact is Darwin’s evolution is the accepted theory in the science community, and many Americans agree that teaching this theory is necessary. By allowing textbooks to say creationism is correct, the House is looking to hurt children’s science education in the future.
Furthermore, the bill also allows the committee to put a “one-page summary, opinion or disclaimer” into any book that is authorized for use in the schools. According to this bill and its amendments, the committee has the power not only to say creationism is fact, but anything else it feels is necessary. This opens a Pandora’s box of ideas that can be stated on the page as fact for schoolchildren. Whether the representatives understand it or not, they have given an undue amount of power to the committee members. If this bill is approved, anything even slightly controversial that was previously taught can be denied at the beginning of the book. It is a fact that most first impressions are the lasting ones. The opposing opinions will confuse children who tend to believe whatever textbooks say.
The ability to put disclaimers and opinions into textbooks is the first step toward a totalitarian government where schoolchildren learn only what the government believes is right. If something in the textbooks shows the government in an unfavorable light, the committee might put in a disclaimer that certain parts of the book critical of the government are not right. Events some people are now starting to promote as fiction, such as the Holocaust, could be singled out as wrong if the committee is inclined to do so.
This kind of power should not be put into the hands of a few. The unbiased education in this country will slowly be whittled away if bills like this one pass. Future generations of schoolchildren will be handicapped if the State Textbook Committee is allowed to say whatever it believes is right in the school’s textbooks. A biased government need not interfere with the education process. All theories need to have the chance to be taught and learned. Then the children will be able to make a decision based on knowledge of the subject and not what a few people think.
Brieanne Porter’s column originally appeared April 18 in the Texas A&M University paper, The Battalion.