Evolving 'Controversy' in School

I was considering sending a general email to our staff after learning a few teachers are telling students that evolution is wrong. At the very least I would like for my colleagues to be benign and not detrimental. What are your thoughts?
– G., Ohio

I think it would be a bad idea to send out a general email. You have to work with your colleagues and airing this out publicly would not be good for relations. Remember, only a few are involved.

Do you know if those staff members who don’t believe in evolution are telling your students to answer questions differently than what you teach? That would be a problem. If they are just stating their opinions then consider if there are larger implications. Depending on your district’s policies, you may be required to talk to the colleagues involved face-to-face as the first step. I recommend that you should talk to them. Remember: You are not trying to change their minds, so don’t argue about evolution. Focus on their effect on your curriculum.

The nature of science focuses on explanations that adhere to evidence. Evolution is a major unifying concept in science. You will teach it and expect your students to understand it, regardless of whether they believe it or not.

You may want to read over NSTA’s position statement on teaching evolution: https://goo.gl/uADYyw

Hope this helps!


Photo credit:  J. Cameron  [Public domain]

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1 Response to Evolving 'Controversy' in School

  1. Harry E. Keller says:

    Here, in the 21st century, I am saddened to see so many people who don’t accept evolution. But, teachers?! If there were any way to fire a teacher who taught that evolution is less than accurate, I would do it. Evolution has become the most important unifying concept in biology. Without it, biology is chaos.
    What would you do to a teacher telling students that smoking is healthy? How do you handle climate change deniers? What if one of your teachers taught that slavery was a good thing and that African-Americans were less than human and should be slaves? Suppose your science teachers were telling students that continents do not move or that humans and dinosaurs cohabited the Earth?
    Exactly how you handle it depends on you, your teachers, and your district rules. There’s no wiggle room here, though. Your teachers must stop telling students that evolution is wrong or even hinting at it — or else!

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