You have to tell your child’s life science teacher (or, any science teacher for that matter) that your family does not support creationism, does not want to see anyone “teaching the controversy” and that you know that “Intelligent Design” is a form of creationism. I promise you, the creationist parents of your child’s peers, and some of the creationist kids in the classroom, are not keeping their mouths shut. Why should you?
So, pursuant to this, I have composed a template for you to use as an email or letter to send to your child or ward’s life science teacher:
Dear [Fill In the Blank],
My child/ward [Fill In the Blank] is in your class, [Fill In the Blank], and s/he and I are both very excited about the prospect of learning a great deal of new things about the natural world, as well as how to approach problems scientifically. Whenever you are looking for parent volunteers for help in your class, or seek spare or recycled materials that we may have at home, we will be the first to volunteer, so don’t hesitate to contact me ([Fill in best way to contact]).
I am very much aware, as I’m sure you are as well, that teaching science can be controversial, and that there are people and organizations, and even some of your students and some of their parents, and perhaps even some of your colleagues on the faculty, who would prefer you to either teach creationism or, at least, give creationism (or, as it is sometimes called, “Intelligent Design”) some sort of “equal time.” However, I’m sure you are also aware that the Federal Courts have decided quite firmly that “Intelligent Design” and “Teaching the Controversy” are nothing other than novel forms of the same old creationism, and that it is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution to do so. I and my entire family are fully in agreement that no form of creationism or anything like creationism should ever be taught in a science class in a public school.
It is not uncommon for a teacher to hear from creationists that they don’t like evolution, or Darwin, or that they want their religious beliefs to shape your curriculum. Those individuals, be they parents or students or someone else, are wrong, and they have no legal, ethical, or moral basis to make such an argument. Nonetheless, they can cause trouble, and that seems to be their intent on occasion. I want you to know that I am a member of the National Center for Science Education as well as our local equivalent, [Fill in the blank with name of state or local group], and if you ever have any pressure from any source to hold back on teaching excellent science, including and especially evolution, you can count on me and those organizations to lend you support in a thoughtful and professional manner.
Also, I should say this: I’m sure that you are not a creationist and that you yourself would never feel moved to introduce creationism into your classroom in any form. But, it is only fair to indicate that my son/daughter, who is taking your class fully understands the dog-whistle clues that creationists often use, and has an excellent understanding of the nature of this “debate” and will thus be able to identify any such antics in any or all of his/her classes.
Finally, I would like to recommend the following resources for you.
Membership in The National Center for Science Education provides useful publications and a periodical. (Click here to join.)
Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction, by Eugenie Scott.
The Devil in Dover: An Insider’s Story of Dogma v. Darwin in Small-Town America, which is about the effects of the Dover Trial on the people and school.
Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design, by Barbara Forrest.
Also, you should read Greg Laden’s Blog.
In fact, I’ve gone ahead and purchased one of these items for you [Fill in the blank indicating NCSE membership or book].
[Fill in the blank]