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The American Civil Liberties Union is battling an Ohio school district’s “controversial issues policy” that would mandate classroom discussions about creationism and other conservative issues.
Think Progress, however, describes the proposed curriculum additions more bluntly:
“Right-wing conspiracies advanced by Glenn Beck.”
That’s how the site’s recent piece on the issue characterizes push-back against U.N. Agenda 21 and other matters important to conservatives.
Springboro Community City School District’s new curriculum requires that “[a]ll sides of the issue should be given to the students in a dispassionate manner” to help them think critically and learn to “identify important issues.” The “controversial issues” include:
religion when not used in a historical or factual context, sex education, legalization of drugs, evolution/creation, pro-life/abortion, contraception/abstinence, conservatism/liberalism, politics, gun rights, global warming and climate change, UN Agenda 21 and sustainable development, and any other topic on which opposing points of view have been promulgated by responsible opinion and/or likely to arouse both support and opposition in the community.
Beck is the author of Agenda 21: A Thriller with Harriet Parke, a New York Times bestselling work of fiction that nevertheless pulls its premises from what’s happening in the world right now. From the review of Agenda 21 at TheBlaze Books:
Woken up to the harsh reality of her life and her family’s future inside the Republic, Emmeline begins to search for the truth: Why are all citizens confined to ubiquitous concrete living spaces? Why are Compounds guarded by Gatekeepers who track all movements? Why are food, water and energy rationed so strictly? And, most important, why are babies taken from their mothers at birth?
As Emmeline begins to understand the true objectives of Agenda 21 she realizes that she’s up against far more than she ever imagined. With the Authorities closing in, and nowhere to run, Emmeline embarks on an audacious plan to save her family and expose the Republic—but is she already too late?
Under the policy, students could not learn about sustainable development without also assessing the impact of U.N. Agenda 21, a series of non-binding U.N. recommendations for ensuring that economic growth does not undermine the environment, which conservatives believe will destroy American sovereignty and freedom. The Agenda was developed at a summit in Brazil in 1992 with support from President George H.W. Bush.
The ACLU criticized the district for adding evolution to the “controversial issues” list, noting that the policy “appears to explicitly permit the teaching of creationism.” “It has been firmly established that this practice is unconstitutional, in violation of the Establishment Clause,” ACLU legal director James L. Hardiman explained in a letter.
In 2011, the school board “backed away from plans to teach creationism under public pressure” from the ACLU. It plans to vote on this proposal in early June and is facing similar criticism from parents and students.
“It’s the job of families, not public schools to educate children on spiritual values,” said ACLU of Ohio staff attorney Drew Dennis. to The Raw Story. “It is irresponsible for schools to repeatedly waste resources designing these types of unconstitutional policies.”
Kelly Kohls, Springboro Community City Schools board president, said the policy change was only meant to encourage discussion and educate students, The Raw Story noted.
“There’s a lot of controversy over other issues, but these are kind of the big ones that we want to allow people to talk about it in the classroom,” she told WLWT.
But some parents are skeptical, according to The Raw Story.
“I think this school board likes to play politics and likes to play games,” David Bowman told 2 News. “This is merely a means for them to introduce their specific ideology. I don’t think they’re at all interested in teaching our kids critical thinking”
Here’s a news report from WDTN-TV:
(H/T: Think Progress)