March 28, 2013 | Vol. 116 -- No. 49

Parents ask district to question Darwin's theory

Medical Lake resident Mark Hudson asked the Medical Lake School District board of directors to consider adding curriculum that would introduce scientific questioning of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

At the Tuesday, March 26 board meeting, Hudson wasn’t alone, however, and brought along a petition signed by 299 others in Medical Lake who hoped the item would be added to the district’s curriculum. Some, he pointed out, thought the theory of evolution was correct, but wanted children to have the opportunity to question the norm.

“We have people who are avowed evolutionists, who feel that evolution is right, but still feel that this ought to be implemented in our school district so that our students can have the ability to make critical decisions on controversial subjects and allow them to have the best informed decision-making process on this whole subject,” Hudson said.

Among those signing the petition include Medical Lake Mayor John Higgins.

Hudson said he met with the district’s curriculum coordination council to discuss the potential of adding the additional part to the district’s lesson plans. He proposed the addition a few years ago, and the council allowed a passive ruling that let teachers add the supplemental material to the classroom at their own discretion.

“When we walked away (from the council), the impression we had was dismissive; that our voice wasn’t heard,” Hudson said.

The proposal would bring some of the best arguments and available science forward to ask critical questions of Darwin’s theory, including peer-reviewed journals.

“We’re asking an active role of the school board to please implement a policy that will do that,” Hudson said.

Brian Olmstead, who accompanied Hudson, said the proposal wasn’t about intelligent design nor was it about bringing God into schools. Rather, the proposal asks questions to try and raise questions in an attempt to avoid a one-sided approach to Darwin’s theory.

School board president Rod Von Lehe said the board would take it under consideration.

Several teachers also gave a report on the Northwest Council for Computer Education conference in Portland they recently attended.

High school teacher Ann Everett said it tied in perfectly with the district’s ongoing investment in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) classes. Sessions discussed how to integrate iPad applications into classroom lessons, offering students an opportunity to take lessons home with them or even begin them the day before school.

Hallett Elementary teacher Sheila Overman said students paid more attention to videos when they had them on a personal screen in front of them. She also said tools like Discovery Education worked well at home, helping to engrain a lesson outside of school.

The school board passed a number of policy changes at the meeting, but most were simple wording and grammar changes. Among the changes in several of the policies emphasized that marijuana was still considered a controlled substance in school and was subject to the appropriate disciplinary action.

The board also officially moved its meeting time one hour forward to 6 p.m.

James Eik can be reached at james@cheneyfreepress.com.

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