We were concerned to read that one of our elected officials, state Sen. Mike Fair, is holding up the adoption of our state K-12 science standards for religious reasons.
As a minister in an historic Charleston church and a science teacher in a Charleston County public school, we urge the adoption of the science standards without religious interference.
In a country of great religious freedom, there is no shortage of religious instruction. Churches, mosques, and synagogues thrive and teach the beliefs of their traditions to those who choose to attend.
Public schools, however, teach the sciences and humanities to all students. Our teachers excel in providing content instruction in order to help students become critical thinkers and well-informed citizens.
Our teachers should be free to teach, and our students free to learn, without having someone else's religious views imposed on them. Science is a perfect example.
The creationism that Sen. Fair would insert into the curriculum is a religious teaching. By contrast, Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is a foundational concept of biology. Only one of these belongs in a public school classroom.
Charleston is a growing and diverse community. We are positioned for a bright future with Blackbaud, Boeing, and a new nickname as "Silicon Harbor." In order to welcome this future, our students will need to excel in math and science. We owe it to them to ensure that they receive the instruction they need to compete with any students in the world.
We have seen the intelligence and creativity of our public school kids here in Charleston County. Let's give them the tools they need to become future engineers, programmers, and biomedical researchers. This begins by teaching them the complete body of scientific knowledge.
We hope that other concerned citizens will contact the members of the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee. The committee should adopt the K-12 science standards as they are, without inserting Sen. Fair's religious preferences.
Our kids can make their own religious choices. When they're in school, let's teach them what they need to know to succeed in math, science and the new economy.
Sara Keckler Rutledge
The Rev. Dr. Jeremy Rutledge
Circular Congregational Church