Several public schools in Texas are teaching creationism over evolution, a new report from Slate reveals. The article covers the Responsive Education Solutions charter school system in place throughout the state, which is financed with $82 million in public funds each year. Responsive Education Solutions also has schools in Arkansas and Indiana.
Despite the system's lack of religious affiliation, the mandatory biology textbook used across the system’s 65 campuses is written in a way that seems to favor creationism over evolution. Although the book does not specifically endorse the religious theory of creationism, it does make non-valid, anti-evolution claims such as “Some scientists even question the validity of the conclusions concerning the age of the Earth.” It also claims that evolution can never be fully proven. “How can scientists do experiments on something that takes millions of years to accomplish? It’s impossible,” the book reads, for instance.
While evolution is generally accepted by an overwhelming majority of scientists, science is an imperfect and fickle subject. New theories often displace old ones. While creationism certainly should not be taught in schools funded by taxpayers’ money, schools should not be afraid to challenge their students to question and think critically about the theory of evolution, and many of the statements in the Responsive Ed textbook simply encourage students to do so.
However, the beginning of Responsive Ed’s biology workbook starts with a biblical reference, stating “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.” Many believe that the system is attempting to discourage students from engaging in the scientific theory of evolution.
Dan Quinn, the communications director for nonpartisan organization the Texas Freedom Network, claimed that Responsive Ed’s textbook is operating in dangerous territory.
“These materials should raise a big red flag for any parent or school administrator. It’s bad enough that they promote the same discredited anti-evolution arguments that scientists debunked a long time ago. But the materials also veer into teaching religious beliefs that the courts have repeatedly ruled have no place in a public science classroom,” Quinn told Slate.