When public-school students enrolled in Texas’ largest charter program open their biology workbooks, they will read that the fossil record is “sketchy.” That evolution is “dogma” and an “unproved theory” with no experimental basis. They will be told that leading scientists dispute the mechanisms of evolution and the age of the Earth. These are all lies.
The more than 17,000 students in the Responsive Education Solutions charter system will learn in their history classes that some residents of the Philippines were “pagans in various levels of civilization.” They’ll read in a history textbook that feminism forced women to turn to the government as a “surrogate husband.”
Responsive Ed has a secular veneer and is funded by public money, but it has been connected from its inception to the creationist movement and to far-right fundamentalists who seek to undermine the separation of church and state.
Infiltrating and subverting the charter-school movement has allowed Responsive Ed to carry out its religious agenda—and it is succeeding. Operating more than 65 campuses in Texas, Arkansas, and Indiana, Responsive Ed receives more than $82 million in taxpayer money annually, and it is expanding, with 20 more Texas campuses opening in 2014.
Charter schools may be run independently, but they are still public schools, and through an open records request, I was able to obtain a set of Responsive Ed’s biology “Knowledge Units,” workbooks that Responsive Ed students must complete to pass biology. These workbooks both overtly and underhandedly discredit evidence-based science and allow creationism into public-school classrooms.
I asked Ken Miller, a co-author of the Miller-Levine Biology textbook published by Pearson and one of the most widely used science textbooks on the market today, to respond to claims about the fossil record and other inaccuracies in the Responsive Ed curriculum. (It’s worth noting that creationists on the Texas State Board of Education recently tried, and failed, to block the approval of Miller’s textbook because it teaches evolution.)
The curriculum tells students that a “lack of transitional fossils” is a “problem for evolutionists who hold a view of uninterrupted evolution over long periods of time.”
“The assertion that there are no ‘transitional fossils’ is false,” Miller responded. “We have excellent examples of transitional forms documenting the evolution of amphibians, mammals, and birds, to name some major groups. We also have well-studied transitional forms documenting the evolution of whales, elephants, horses, and humans.”
Evolution is not a scientific controversy, and there are no competing scientific theories. All of the evidence supports evolution, and the overwhelming majority of scientists accept the evidence for it.
So despite the fact that the new Texas textbooks approved the teaching of Evolution and rejected Creationism out of hand, these charter schools are finding away around that hurdle, and teaching this garbage anyhow.
Which, in my opinion, is the driving force behind creating charter schools and pushing parents to home school their children in the first place.
Remember keeping a population ignorant, and reliant on faith instead of critical thinking, only benefits those who seek to manipulate public opinion through fear and misinformation.
And exactly which political party does that sound like?