Monday, April 20, 2009

Freshman saga continues

The Thomas Freshwater case is still an on-going concern in Mount Vernon OH. If you aren't familiar, i have blogged a little about it (Mt Vernon OH and a Teacher named Freshman). In a nutshell this high school science teacher has been teaching Creationism and casting aspersions on the actual science he was hired to teach. He also liked to use an electro-static device to etch a cross into students arms. Well he finally got busted, fired, and he is appealing his firing. The school system has been holding a number of hearings on the matter.

Not to belabor the whole thing again, but today there was an interesting article on the status of the hearings and the main thrust of the article was simply put, parental involvement in your kids education. "Steve Goble's It's Debatable: Ultimately, parents are in charge of their child's education"

It offered several things to do to get more involved.

  • Attend a school board meeting, and ask about the science curriculum.
  • Ask the district for a list of science textbooks, and see what's being taught. Meet with your child's science teacher, and ask about the lesson plan.
  • Read the textbooks and other classroom materials your child uses.
  • Talk to your child, and ask about teachers.
  • Volunteer at your child's school. I do this, and I get to know the teachers and administrators and see what goes on in the classrooms. Thanks to that close-up look, I feel pretty good about the education my daughter is receiving. And I won't be a stranger if, down the road, I need to have a serious talk with the administration. I'll know them, and they'll know me.
  • Use the Internet. Talk about classroom stuff online with others in your community. Raise questions, share experiences.
  • If you do find a teacher preaching in the classroom, let someone know. The National Center for Science Education ( would be interested. So would the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio ( Such groups have the resources to help you.
  • If you do find such instances of preaching instead of teaching, don't be quiet. Go to the school board meeting and speak up. Go to the press. Go online. Be loud.
  • Know where school board members stand on these issues before you cast your votes. Those who would like to turn science classes into congregations aren't shy about finding school board candidates who feel the same way. They're pretty good at turning out the vote, too. Science-minded people, and fans of church-state separation, need to be more proactive.
  • Have you ever considered running for the school board yourself? If you're scientifically literate and constitutionally aware, your district could use you.
  • Read some current science and history on your own. Try the "New Books" shelf at your library, and brush up. It'll be easier to spot bogus science or history in your kids' textbooks if you're up on such things yourself.
  • Attend parent-teacher organization meetings, and talk to other parents. Network, ask questions.
  • Did I mention talking to your kids? Let them know your values, and what you expect them to learn, and ask them plenty of questions while you're at it.
  • Very few parents are going to be able to do all of these, but they should certainly do some of them! It might have prevented Mr. Freshmen from physically hurting the kids we put in his care. It certainly should have prevented the need from re-teaching science as later grades, a complaint noted by the investigation report.

    Now and then I keep hearing people say things like "What possible harm can there be in believing in God?" John Freshman is a perfect example! He believes so strongly that he will willing to violate his contract with the school, harm children, and then lie about it all to investigators. All in the name of God?

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