Large Charter School Network in Texas Is Teaching Creationism and Some People Don’t Like It

In this July 21, 2011, file photo, Joe Zamecki protests out side a building where the Texas Board of Education held a meeting, in Austin, Texas. The Texas Board of Education attracted a fierce debate as it considered how the next round of science textbooks will address such issues as creationism and climate change. Science advocate Zack Kopplin recently alleged that a chain of charter schools in Texas has been pushing creationism in the classroom. | ASSOCIATED PRESS
In this July 21, 2011, file photo, Joe Zamecki protests out side a building where the Texas Board of Education held a meeting, in Austin, Texas. The Texas Board of Education attracted a fierce debate as it considered how the next round of science textbooks will address such issues as creationism and climate change. Science advocate Zack Kopplin recently alleged that a chain of charter schools in Texas has been pushing creationism in the classroom. | ASSOCIATED PRESS

According to science advocate Zack Kopplin, Texas students in more than 65 schools are not learning real science. Instead, he alleges, students enrolled in schools operated by the state’s largest charter school program are learning a curriculum that is riddled with factual errors, pushes creationism and undermines evolution.

Kopplin, 20, railed against the crooked standards at Responsive Education Solutions charter schools in an article published on Slate.com Thursday. He says he used an open records request to attain copies of the workbooks used to educate Responsive Ed students and found science lessons that call evolution a “dogma” and an “unproven theory.” He also said he saw history lessons with a misogynistic and religious agenda.

“What I found is that, really unquestionably, the Responsive Education Solutions program is teaching creationism,” Kopplin told The Huffington Post over the phone about the publicly funded, secular charter school network. “It highlights supernatural creationism as a legitimate alternative to evolution. It says that evolution is unproved dogma with no experimental basis.”

One Responsive Ed worksheet, according to scanned lessons Kopplin shared with The Huffington Post, describes the evolutionary theory of humans as being the subject of much “skepticism, debate, and change.” Another explains that some see creationism and evolution as being in conflict with each other, and that some scientists try to bridge this conflict through subscribing to the theory of intelligent design.

The “theory [of evolution] needs to be better supported by hard evidence,” reads another worksheets, encapsulating the overall message of these lessons.

When Kopplin spoke with Rosalinda Gonzalez, the vice president of academic affairs for Responsive Ed, she told him that their curriculum “teaches evolution, noting, but not exploring, the existence of competing theories,” per the Slate article.

According to information provided to Kopplin from the Texas Education Agency, Responsive Ed is currently conducting an internal review of allegations that its schools are teaching creationism. The agency will also be conducting its own review of the material.

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Source: Huffington Post | Rebecca Klein