To: Brian Greene,
Subject: HB 228
Date: Wed Feb 26 20:19:30 MST 2014
I sent this to all republicans in the education committee who voted no on HB 228 or were absent.
Dear Representative ,
I am very concerned about the isolation of the State Office of Education and particularly theState Board of Education from the parents of Utah. Parents are ultimately and solely responsible for the education of their children. The state and local governments were created by the people and therefore are the servants of the people. In that capacity, schools and educators are aids to the parents in their efforts to educate children.
That said, I must report that I find that the State Board of Education mostly disconnected from the desire to communicate with parents. I have tried to communicate with all of them. A few did respond initially, but none were willing to have a conversation. One even showed an attitude of wanting to isolate and counter the influence that the typical Utah student receives from his or her family. After these experiences, I hardly consider this body a representative organization for the needs of students as directed by parents.
The State Board of Education handle vast amounts of our public moneys. More importantly, their influence is seen in the face of every child that is in our public education system. They affect the future of our state and that of our children and grand children.
Why have we let this institution become so detached from the Parents of this state?
We need HB 228 to bring the accountability back to parents.
Will you please reconsider and call for another vote on HB 228
I have also attached a copy of one of the communications that I have sent to our Board of Education Members, that you may see that this is a reasonable conversation that I am attempting to have.
Dear Board Member,
I am concerned about how science is taught to our school children. The problem is, our educators don't allow critical thought or discussion regarding Darwinism because of the State Board of Education mandates. When empirical scientific evidence has been submitted which counters the Darwinian tree of life, for example, the board specialist has eschewed the data and cited "STANDARD V” from the Utah Science Core Curriculum - Biology: “Students will understand that biological diversity is a result of evolutionary processes." This is the response in spite of the fact that the same document states: "Science distinguishes itself from other ways of knowing and from other bodies of knowledge through the use of empirical standards, logical arguments, and skepticism, as science strives for explanations of the world." In other words, considering both sides of the Darwinian debate is exactly what students need in order to develop good science skills.
To solve these challenges I am working to help Utah achieve a more scientific approach which admits that “Science is always a work in progress, and its conclusions are always tentative,” and “that anything that can be measured or observed is amenable to scientific investigation” (Berkeley website). I want to see an environment in “public elementary and secondary schools that encourages students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues” (Tennessee Academic Freedom Bill).
Where do you stand on the issue? Are you willing to revise Utah's teaching guidelines concerning the Darwinian Tree of Life for example, that teachers may freely and without duress explore scientific evidence and help students develop critical thinking skills without the politicized filters in this and similar politically sensitive subjects?
Stephen C. Meyer: Is intelligent design science? Signature in the Cell
Again, please let me know where you stand on this issue and whether you are willing to modify the board’s position.
Thanks for your service,