Ohio is not Kansas

As has been mentioned elsewhere on ScienceBlogs, Ohio creationst Deborah Owens Fink is facing a challenge for her seat on Ohio's school board this coming November 7th. Fink has been one of those who, when I've contacted the Board members to urge them to support good science, I've not even bothered with--it's a waste of keystrokes. Ed has the lowdown on the situation, and the Columbus Dispatch has more:

This year, pro-evolution members prevailed in efforts to strip a provision from highschool science standards that they said promoted the teaching of intelligent design.

"They got what they wanted," Fink said. "I don't understand why they are even engaged on the topic. Ohio isn't Kansas."

Why yes. How dare they stay engaged in the topic? Could it be, perhaps, to keep Ohio from becoming Kansas?

As Ed pointed out, Fink has shown with her words what little respect she gives to her own position on the board of education, when she commented about her opponent, former Congressman Tom Sawyer:

Ms. Owens Fink, who has previously run unopposed, noted Mr. Sawyer hasn't had much political success since losing re-election to Congress following redistricting.

"In his previous elections, he hasn't done very well. I guess he needs a job," she said. "If he doesn't win this one then he can run for dog catcher."

How very glib. Let's see what Sawyer, on the other hand, has to say about the responsibility of serving on the board:

In many ways, the State Board is where the rubber meets the road. It should be an intersection but it has become a roadblock on what should be a two-way street between parents and lawmakers.

Our State Board has been an underachiever when it comes to governance, curriculum, the achievement gap, and school funding. I aim to turn that around. People ask why a former congressman would run for school board. I say, isn't it high time the Board of Education was that important?

Ohioans out there, I know the Board of Educaiton elections generally aren't a huge draw on election day. But this is one year where you can make a difference. A number of Ohio scientists have set up a non-partisan group called HOPE (Help Ohio Public Education), where you can find out information about Board of Education races and candidates for your district. Districts 2, 3, 4, 7, and 8 are electing representatives this year, so be sure to be informed and to vote if that's you. (And I'm lookin' especially at you, Lucas/Wood counties, since Hancock is off the hook this year...)

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I live in an adjacent town to Fink's district, which includes the city of Akron, OH. I subscribe to the Akron newspaper and I am gearing up for a letter writing campaign. I would like to answer pro-ID and pro-Fink letters accurately in terms of science. I wonder if someone here might be interested in being an email consultant for me if I have technical questions about ID, evolution, biology and such.

Thanks in advance.

I'd be happy to help; and if there are any questions you have that are more Ohio-specific, I know a few of the folks at Ohio Citizens for Science as well.

Thanks very much for both of those offers. I just contacted the volunteer guys at Tom Sawyers HQ to see if there is anything more I can do.