WANDERING EYE ‌ Monkey Trials 

The origins of life are up for discussion, again

Just when The Eye has a little trouble finding a topic for discussion, some religious wingnut state legislator solves the problem.

Last week was no exception, when The Eye learned that state Sen. Mike Fair (R-Greenville) wants the state Board of Education to include creationism and the idea of "intelligent design" along with evolution in high school biology classes.

The Education Oversight Committee (EOC) voted 8-7 on Dec. 12 to remove language from high school biology standards that committed the schools to teaching only Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

Fair, a committee member, said, "What I'm trying to encourage is critical analysis of a controversial subject in the classroom."

That's a great idea, Mike, thought The Eye, introduce an adult pissing contest into the classroom. The Eye bets the teachers will love you for it.

For the past year, the state Department of Education has conducted an exhaustive review of key subjects and basic knowledge that all teachers are required to impart to their attentive little minions.

The department then writes the standards that all teachers use to create their lesson plans, and the EOC signs off on the guidelines, and then the state school board approves the final product.

The EOC is supposed to approve or disapprove the revisions as a whole and not delve into subject-specific standards.

The science standards alone come in at over 100 pages.

The guidelines came about as part of a comprehensive school reform package that began in 1998.

The Eye is here to tell the reader that the real truth, however, is not so much about reform as it is about "teaching to test" and improving students' performance on standardized examinations so as to qualify for more money from the state and the federales.

The EOC's narrow vote came after an especially testy exchange between Sen. Fair and Secretary of Education Inez Tenenbaum (D), in which she accused Fair of trying to undermine months of work by numerous people that was widely supported by academic and scientific colleagues.

Fair snapped back with, "I don't know why there's so much resistance to monkeying with the establishment."

So now he's a comedian on top of being a shit-starter, mused The Eye.

Last month the state Board of Education gave its nod to science revisions that some teachers had complained required clarification.

The EOC was supposed to have issued its decision last October, but Fair managed to delay the committee's work so he could lobby the Dept. of Ed. and state school board to include creationism and intelligent design into the revised standards.

Being the thorough little "family values" guy that he is, Fair has also prefiled a bill in the state General Assembly that would give state lawmakers a say in how biology is taught in schools.

The Eye wonders if he's crafted legislation that turns the State of South Carolina into a theocracy, as well.

Last Wednesday, Tenenbaum and the state School Board avoided Fair's attempt to impose his personal religious leanings into a secular school system by approving the revised standards the EOC liked and leaving in place the current high school biology standards.

Said Tenenbaum, "We have biology standards adopted in 2000 that are recognized as some of the strongest in the nation. The EOC didn't give us a complete set of (biology) standards and until we get them, we'll continue to use the (current) standards."

The board vote was 11-5 in favor of Tenenbaum's idea, but don't think that the voters on the losing side have any intention of giving up.


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