AU Seeks Info about Anti-Evolution Drives in Ohio and Montana

Article excerpt

Americans United has filed freedom-of-information requests with education officials in Ohio and Montana to obtain detailed information about recent decisions to water down the teaching of evolution.

In Ohio, AU is investigating the Department of Education's approval of a lesson plan titled "A Critical Analysis of Evolution." In an April 6 letter, Americans United asked Superintendent of Public Instruction Susan Tave Zelman to provide copies of "all documents referring to or relating to" the development of the lesson plan.

AU attorneys have made a similar information request in Darby, Mont., where the school board recently voted to require science teachers to "assess evidence for and against" evolution.

Religious Right groups have launched a national crusade to weaken instruction about evolution in public schools because it conflicts with their interpretation of the Bible. The federal courts have barred the teaching of creationism in science classes, so these organizations are now urging educators to teach "intelligent design" and to offer evidence "for and against" evolution.

"If officials are changing the public school curriculum to conform to religious dogma, that's clearly unconstitutional," said Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. "Sound science education must not be sacrificed on the altar of religious zealotry. …