The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

December 11, 2007

Parent wants intelligent design in PV

ANDOVER — A concerned parent questioned Pymatuning Valley Local School officials at Monday’s meeting, as to how they are teaching the science curriculum regarding the theory of creationism.

The parent, a Frank Piper, whose daughter is a PV Middle School fifth-grader, is concerned because the district is teaching the “big bang theory” of the creation of the universe and not presenting students with alternatives to Darwin’s theory of evolution. Creationism, which posits that life is too complex to be explained by evolution alone, and its place in public school curricula, has been a highly debated issue in Ohio and elsewhere for several years.

The issue really came to light two years ago when a U.S. District Court judge in Pennsylvania ruled intelligent design, or creationism, cannot be mentioned in public-school biology classes there. The judge ruled that Dover Area School Board members violated the U.S. Constitution when the board ordered that the biology curriculum must include that life on Earth was produced by an intelligent cause they could not identify.

Piper said his daughter is a straight A student and failed her test on the “big bang theory” because she didn’t understand it.

“We’re Christians,” he said. “I couldn’t even help her because I don’t understand it.”

Board of Education President Brad Lane said he was under the impression the district was teaching both sides of the issue, but PV Middle School Principal Andrew Kuthy said that is not the case.

“We teach what is out of the state curriculum,” Kuthy said.

The Ohio Board of Education created the state public school curriculum, and public schools are obligated to follow it, he said.

Superintendent Jake Rose said the district would look into whether it could teach both views as part of the curriculum. Rose said he was going to do some research on the issue and speak with the district’s science consultant as to where the state stands on the issue.

“The big-bang theory has been around forever, but (the parent is) right; it’s just a theory,” Rose said.

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