BOE member: "I want God to be part of this"
The other shoe has dropped. State Board of Education member Donna Callaway says she’ll be voting against the proposed new state science standards because evolution “should not be taught to the exclusion of other theories of origin of life” and says she hopes “there will be times of prayer throughout Christian homes and churches directed toward this issue.”
"As a SBOE member, I want those prayers," Callaway said, according to a Nov. 30 column in the Florida Baptist Witness, a weekly newspaper based in Jacksonville that is an official organ of the Florida Baptist Convention. "I want God to be part of this. Isn’t that ironic?"
Callaway, a former middle school principal and Jeb appointee, is one of seven board members who’ll be voting on the science standards early next year. But more importantly for the moment, she is the highest-profile official to date who has come out against the draft standards since the Department of Education released them for public comment in October. Educators and scientists have generally given them a good review (see St. Petersburg Times story here.) In fact, another key scientist gave them a plug yesterday (see press release here.)
Evolution "is like no other subject we teach. Therefore, it is of supreme importance," Callaway continued, according to the Florida Baptist Witness. "This has the possibility of confirming or denying for a child who he/she really is. This strikes to the meaning, the value, and the core of life itself. I firmly believe that a child can deal with the proof of science along with a personal belief in God as the Creator of the universe at the same time. The classroom should allow him, openly, that opportunity. Teachers should be allowed the leeway to acknowledge that there are other theories."
Callaway told the newspaper she does not believe intelligent design should be taught, but said it should be "acknowledged as a theory which many people accept along with others. Students need to have any proof, scientific evidence that is there. But the fact that there are other theories about certain parts, at least needs to be pointed out, footnoted. I believe this is true education."
- Ron Matus, state education reporter