Contradictions in Ohio

As I mentioned here, it looks like there is additional rumbling over Ohio’s education standards. Sunday’s Columbus Dispatch has more information on the topic, and something just isn’t right:

Colleen Grady, a board member from the Cleveland suburb of Strongsville, wants to add guidelines to the state science standards for teaching on such topics as evolution, global warming, stem-cell research and cloning.

Grady said she views her proposal as a compromise to ensure that differing views are considered when teaching such hot-button issues.

“We would provide a template so schools would be comfortable discussing controversial issues,” she said last week.


Talk of revisiting the issue has raised concern among scientists who have long fought efforts that they say undermine Darwin’s theory of evolution. Now, they argue, some board members want to subject other areas of science to heightened scrutiny.

“This is so transparent,” said Steve Rissing, a biology professor at Ohio State University. “These are not controversial areas of science.”

As suggested, I emailed the board members this past Friday to voice my concern over the proposed change, and who emailed me back but Colleen Grady, saying she knew of no such proposal–clearly contradicted by the Dispatch story.

Something’s fishy back in the Buckeye state…


  1. #1 Chiefley
    July 10, 2006

    I am in the Ohio district represented by Colleen Grady. I really don’t know what to believe about the rumors either.

    I emailed a letter to all the Ohio school board members with my brief opinion on the matter, including the audacious quote from the DI on how adding global warming will get around the religious problem.

    One board member quickly responded saying that she definitely would fight for having the language remain as it is since the February change (which removed the “critical analysis” language.

    Colleen Grady responded only by saying that she never heard of the Discovery Institute.

  2. #2 Tara C. Smith
    July 11, 2006

    Colleen Grady responded only by saying that she never heard of the Discovery Institute.

    Wow. I find that really, really, really hard to believe.

  3. #3 RBH
    July 11, 2006

    Yeah, I think it’s almost inconceivable that Grady hadn’t heard of the Disco Institute, given that Disco Institute representatives have made a number of pilgrimages to Ohio over the last couple of years, all covered in the major newspapers.

    Chiefley, could I get you to post Grady’s response here in its entirety?


  4. #4 Chiefley
    July 12, 2006

    Sure, I can post it. There isn’t much to it. I sent a pretty detailed message on Saturday and got this short response on Sunday. Actually, on such short notice before the meeting, I was surprised to get any response.

    Mr. Chapman,

    Thank you for your e-mail.

    I don’t even know what the Discovery Institute is.

    Colleen Grady

  5. #5 rik
    July 13, 2006

    Grady doesn’t know?? Strange. Here is today’s lead editorial from the Columbus Dispatch (love the last paragraph!):
    Evolving strategy
    State board members failed to sneak in creationism, so they try a new tactic
    Thursday, July 13, 2006

    Once again, the State Board of Education is provoking a debate on whether evolution is a controversial scientific theory that should be taught with warnings and disclaimers.

    This fight should have been dead and buried in February, when the board voted 11-4 to drop a science standard and lesson plan that called for “critical analysis” of evolution. But a few dogged members still insist on “teaching the controversy” about evolution, even though the controversy has been manufactured by disingenuous people who wish to introduce the supernatural into science classrooms.

    At a Monday meeting in Columbus of the board’s Achievement Committee, member Colleen D. Grady proposed that the science standards be changed to guide teachers on how to present controversial topics such as global warming, stem-cell research and, of course, evolution, in science classrooms.

    Grady borrowed words and phrases from different parts of the current science standards to create a Frankenstein monster of a standard. It would read:

    “Describe that scientists may disagree about explanations of phenomena, about interpretation of data or about the value of rival theories, but they do agree that questioning response to criticism and open communications are integral to the process of science.

    “Discuss and be able to apply this in the following areas: global warming; evolutionary theory; emerging technologies and how they may impact society, e.g. cloning or stem-cell research.”

    Context is important, and the public should see through this ploy.

    The “rival theory,” in the case of evolution, is no theory at all, but the untestable religious idea that an intelligent designer must have created every living thing.

    Intelligent design is code for the Christian version of creationism.

    The Education Department staff will be drawing up a draft for the board’s consideration in September. Why now?

    What has changed in Ohio’s schools over the past five months that requires the board to revisit the standards? They are fine.

    A good guess might be that, if this issue ends up in court, no one could claim that evolution has been singled out if global warming, cloning and stem-cell research also are listed.

    The school board in Dover, Pa., lost a high-profile case in federal court in December because the district had singled out evolution, of all the scientific theories, as flawed.

    There is no debate within the scientific community that evolution occurs; the theory is bolstered constantly, as newly discovered fossils fill in the record.

    The scientific community also has concluded that the globe is warming. Only the particulars, such as the conclusions to be drawn from the numbers and what to do about it, are up for debate.

    Columbus is an ironic place to be challenging global warming: Ohio State University’s Lonnie Thompson and Ellen Mosely-Thompson have spent decades documenting the effects on glaciers and the snowcap on Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro.

    As for stem-cell research and cloning, there is no debate about the science involved in these issues. The only debate would be over the morality of these practices, a worthy discussion, but not one appropriate for a class devoted to teaching the scientific method.

    These few wily board members are the best possible evidence that evolution exists; their tactics mutate every time the public catches on to what’s happening.

  6. #6 Chiefley
    July 13, 2006

    Of course she knows. Her response to me was probably just as honest as her response to Tara about the existence of the changes she was proposing.