The following is the text of a letter sent to the Cobb County, Georgia, Board of Education. [ Click here for news links ]
September 23, 2002
Cobb County Board of Education
514 Glove St.
Marietta, GA 30060
Dear Cobb County Board of Education Members:
On behalf of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and its 53,000 members and 450,000 chapter members nationwide, we strongly encourage the Board of Education of the Cobb County School District to reject without qualification any policy allowing or encouraging teachers to promote nonscientific viewpoints related to human origins or those which may discourage appropriate and pedagogically valid instruction of evolution. Because evolution is a widely accepted scientific theory and a major unifying theme of biology, NSTA and thousands of scientists and educators worldwide have concluded that evolution - and only evolution - should be taught in science classes.
Students need to understand evolution to be well educated citizens, as well as to be prepared for college-level science instruction. Cobb County students will be poorly served if they come away from science classes thinking that evolution is a weak scientific theory somehow different from others, which is the likely outcome of the policy under consideration. The inclusion of any religious theories, such as creationism or intelligent design, will only weaken the quality of science instruction, and the students of Cobb County will pay the ultimate price.
In addition, the policy under consideration gives science teachers imprecise and vague directives regarding the teaching of "disputed views." They are instructed only to use "good judgment" and to "take into account the age and maturity level of their students," which teachers already do. Apparently the purpose of the policy statement is to erroneously single out evolution as an especially controversial issue, which misleads students as to the importance of evolution in science.
NSTA urges you to support science teachers in Cobb County so they are able to teach science the way it should be taught. They should not be censored or pressured as they pursue their professional responsibility to provide quality science instruction to help students understand the natural world.
Attached is NSTA's official position paper on The Teaching of Evolution. We would be glad to further discuss this issue with you. Feel free to contact us at 703-243-7100.
Dr. Gerald Wheeler