The Ohio House of Representatives has passed and the Senate is now considering a law that would forbid teachers from marking an answer wrong on a science test if the answer is based on the student’s religious beliefs. This is nothing less than educational malpractice, a surrendering of an obligation to teach what is true in favor of faux religious freedom.
The Ohio House sent to the Senate on Wednesday a measure that would prohibit public schools from penalizing students for some work that contains religious beliefs.
Critics have called the bill unnecessary or valuing religion over secularism…ACLU of Ohio Chief Lobbyist Gary Daniels called HB 164 a mixed bag. On the one hand it removes some restrictions on students’ religious rights.
On the other hand, Daniels said that if a student submitted biology homework saying the earth is 10,000 years old, as some creationists believe, the teacher cannot dock points.
“Under HB 164, the answer is ‘no,’ as this legislation clearly states the instructor ‘shall not penalize or reward a student based on the religious content of a student’s work,” he said.
Amber Epling, a spokeswoman for Ohio House Democrats, said that in an analysis of the bill by the legislature’s nonpartisan staff, “they cannot be rewarded or penalized for the religious content in their assignments.”
The potential for problems is virtually limitless. People believe all sorts of falsehoods based on their religious beliefs — that the earth is flat and is the center of the universe, for example. To sacrifice the truth on the altar of religion is a betrayal of the school’s duty to educate.