This Ohio School Board, Already Known for Pushing Creationism, Is Now Pushing Revisionist Christian History

The Springboro School District in Ohio is already in hot water for trying to add Creationism to its curriculum. And if there was any doubt about the agenda of the School Board President Kelly Kohls, who also runs a local Tea Party group, it’s pretty obvious now.

The School Board approved a 12-week summer course on the Constitution and here’s the flyer promoting it:

It even says “learn your Godly American heritage.” But the kicker is that David Barton is one of the instructors (over video). Barton, of course, is the discredited pseudo-historian whose Christian publishing company pulled his book from the shelves because of all the inaccuracies contained in it. John Eidsmoe is no better, once telling people that “Jefferson Davis and John C. Calhoun understood the Constitution better than did Abraham Lincoln and Daniel Webster.”

And what about Ricki Pepin, whose name appears at the bottom of the flyer? Here’s the banner on her website:

At least some parents were onto the scheme and said as much at school board meetings and to local media:

“I request you [Kohls] resign your position as school board president immediately because of the conflict of interest and religious convictions,” said a concerned parent, Garlene Hamilton.

“The fact that we’re using public resources for something that is clearly promoting a political and religious agenda that appears to be unconstitutional as well as a waste of taxpayer dollars is unconscionable,” said parent David Bowman.

Even more disturbing that a Barton curriculum in a public school is the fact that the school board is testing this class out in the summer in the hopes that they can offer it to students in the new school year as part of “Constitution Day.” The state requires schools to introduce students to original texts of our founding documents, and this is how they’ve chosen to do it.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has already alerted them to the problems with this course (PDF):

“… the content of these courses are up for scrutiny for factual accuracy. Thus, we urge the board to cancel these summer courses and again urge the board to reject these groups as sponsors of presentation as part of future Constitution Day celebrations.”

“It is deeply troubling that despite widespread community opposition to these policies from local residents and taxpayers and groups like the ACLU of Ohio and FFRF, the district would continue to move forward with these presentations of religious propaganda and disinformation at its local schools…”

So how did the school board react to all the criticism of this course?

Most of them had no comment. Only the Vice President of the school board said anything and it was far from reassuring:

[Critics] complained because the courses weren’t evaluated and now they’re complaining because we’re opening them up for evaluation. Some people you can’t make happy,” [said] board Vice Pres. Jim Rigano.

No, they’re complaining because their incompetent school board is pushing blatantly conservative propaganda into the district under the guise of educational courses. They’re complaining because their kids are the ones who will suffer by not learning anything of value. This isn’t just pushing religion into the classroom, it’s pushing factually untrue history into the minds of students, leaving them unprepared and woefully behind their classmates when they head to college.

Responsible parents need to keep fighting back against this even as other organizations contemplate taking legal action.

If you’d like to send a (polite) letter to the members of the school board, here’s the information you need:

Kelly Kohls
David Petroni
Don Miller
Jim Rigano
Wendy Kull

(via Right Wing Watch)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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