It’s Not Just an Art Contest

Dale McGowan‘s daughter Delaney recently won an Evolution & Art Contest sponsored by Charlie’s Playhouse.

Delaney imagined a monkey that got stranded on an island with “hard nuts, quiet predators, and purple bushes and trees.” Here’s what she wrote about how the monkey evolves:

“The monkey evolved sharp teeth to crack hard nuts, large ears to hear predators, and purple-polka-dotted skin to blend in with the trees and bushes.”

Not a bad way of thinking for a budding young science whiz 🙂

Her family was very proud of this accomplishment so they let her teachers know. The principal even decided to interview her on the school’s daily news show! (9-year-old me would be thrilled by this.)

Just one problem with how the news show was going to explain her victory… according to Dale’s wife:

“… Ms. Warner said they’re not going to call it an ‘Evolution & Art’ contest — just an ‘Art’ contest. When I asked why, she said, ‘Because evolution is not in the curriculum.’ I said yes it is, it’s in the high school curriculum, and she said, ‘But it’s not in the elementary curriculum, so it’ll just be described as an ‘Art’ contest.’”

Dale couldn’t believe this:

It wasn’t an art contest, you see. Delaney’s accomplishment had been scientific, not artistic. The drawing is dandy, but it’s just a way of expressing her grasp of the science. To have her school — savor that for a moment, her school — not only disregard her achievement, but send her the message that it’s something to be hidden, to be ashamed of…

You can read on his site how he handled the situation. (Spoiler: Yay for good adminstrators and parents willing to speak up!)

Dale also offers a few suggestions to other parents who may find themselves having to defend their own beliefs, church-state separation, or proper science.

Hopefully, you won’t ever be in a similar situation, but it’s nice to know that all hope is not lost — even in the South .

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