Dispute Over Creationism Erupts In Modesto School

Officials at a California public school have assured parents that Intelligent Design (ID) will not be brought into the science classroom, despite a teacher’s announcement to the contrary.

Modesto Roosevelt Junior High science teacher Mark Ferrante sparked a community discussion when he said at a public school event in September that he planned to teach the latest variant of creationism. Some of the school’s trustees and other science teachers also admitted their belief that ID should be included in science classes.

“The current curriculum states that the evolution of man, Darwinism, must be taught as theory,” trustee Nancy Cline said in an e-mail to the Modesto Bee. “I feel we do our students a disservice by not helping them become critical thinkers when we forbid the teaching of competing scientific theories, such as intelligent design.”

The school district disagreed, and told parents that would never happen.

“He will not be teaching intelligent design,” said Modesto City Schools spokeswoman Emily Lawrence. “He has been instructed to teach the state standards and intelligent design is not the state standards.”

In Kitzmiller v. Dover Area Public Schools, a 2005 case brought by Americans United and its allies, a federal judge held that intelligent-design instruction at a Pennsylvania school violated church-state separation. The Court held that ID is not a scientific concept but a religious one.