California Educator Will Stop Showing the Bill Nye/Ken Ham Debate in Class After Being Reprimanded

Last week, we learned that high school science teacher Brandon Pettenger of Arroyo Grande High School in California was showing students the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate in class, in addition to having them summarize blog posts on Creationist websites.

This doesn’t belong in a science class

Pettenger said he did this in order to “present both sides of the argument” to students — as if one form of anti-evolution nonsense takes precedence over all the others.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science teamed up to write a letter to the District objecting to this backdoor approach to teaching Creationism.

I’m happy to say that the District took swift action in putting a stop to it:

In an email to FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Chuck Fiorentino reported that he and the school principal met with Pettenger last Thursday, April 23, and directed him “to immediately cease using [creationist materials] and not to instruct at all on the topics of creationism, intelligent design, or anything related.” They also told Pettenger he could only teach state-adopted science standards, and that anything outside those standards needed pre-approval. Creationist information was also removed from Pettenger’s school webpage.

In addition, the district “will be reminding all teachers of their legal obligation to teach only material that is in the State adopted Standard, or Curriculum, or Board approved.”

Excellent news. And it’s the right thing to do. There’s no reason Christian mythology should be taught to students under the veil of science. Students deserve better than that.

(Portions of this article were published earlier)

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