Last week’s New Yorker (Dec.5, 2005) had a very good article on the trial concerning “intelligent design” in the high school of Dover, PA. (It’s not online, but a Q&A with the author, Margaret Talbot, is.) It included lots of interesting original reporting, including the following:
The night after the board approved the evolution disclaimer, Brad Neal, a social-studies teacher at the high school, had an e-mail exchange with [assistant superintendent Mike] Baksa. “In light of last night’s apparent change from a ‘standards-driven’ school district to the ‘living-word-driven’ school district … I would like some direction in how to adapt our judicial-branch unit,” Neal wrote. “It is apparent that the Supreme Court of the United States has it all wrong. Is there some supplemental text that we can use to set our students straight as to the ‘real’ law of the land? We will be entering this unit within the next month and are concerned that we would be polluting our students’ minds if we continue to use our curriculum as currently written in accordance with [state] standards.”
Neal’s message was sarcastic, but Baksa’s reply was not. “Brad, all kidding aside, be careful what you ask for,” he wrote back. I’ve been given a copy of ‘The Myth of Separation,’ by David Barton, to review from board members. Social studies curriculum is next year. Feel free to borrow my copy to get an idea where the board is coming from.”
Fortunately, those are now ex-board members.