Parents for Objective Science and History

Ellen Barber


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April 26, 1999

Address to the School Board from Parents for Objective Science and History

My name is Ellen Barber. I represent Parents for Objective Science and History, a group formed out of concern that evolution is taught as a concrete fact in our children’s classrooms instead of a theory. I came tonight to inform the board and community about the purpose of POSH and its objectives. POSH is a group of many concerned people with broad-based ideas. I do not want the Board to confuse my own personal beliefs with the objectives of POSH. When I speak as a spokesperson for the group, I will be representing the ideals of POSH and not myself.

The Establishment Clause does not allow for any particular religion to be taught in the public schools. POSH is in complete agreement with that Clause and does not intend to promote the teaching of any religion in the classroom.

POSH concedes that evolution is the established teaching regarding life origins and that it shall be taught in the Lawrence public schools. Understanding that, POSH is committed to working within the boundaries of the state and local laws, as well as the Kansas Educational Guidelines. We are also aware that the state science standards are in a process that may involve a change, and are watching to see what direction they will take to guide us in our goals.

POSH’s objective is to encourage a policy shift in District #497 that promotes evolution as a complex body of thought, itself in a process of development and change, instead of a concrete fact. We maintain that teaching evolution objectively as a theory can be accomplished if the teacher is willing to apply critical analysis to evolution as it is applied to the other fields of theoretical science.

POSH desires to make a positive, creative and informed contribution to the education of our students by encouraging critical evaluation in the Science classroom. As parents and teachers partner together in our children’s education, we can envision evolution taught with greater objectivity and clarity. POSH believes students will develop a higher level of critical thinking skills if exposed to the great diversity of thought within the field of evolution.

POSH has received form 410.4 from the Board through Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart. In order to comply with your request for thorough analysis of any instructional material, we will be reviewing the instructional materials before making any assumption that evolution is not being taught objectively and thoroughly already. As this is a time-consuming endeavor, we ask for patience as we seek to properly answer the questions in form 410.4.

At this time, POSH does not ask for any board action. We simply wish to keep you informed on our direction and seek to allay any fears that may have arisen in the community in regard to our objectives. We will only move ahead carefully and cautiously as we are totally informed. Any proposals POSH has will be made in a spirit of caring community, helpfulness, and respect for the teachers and Board members with whom we work. We look forward to cooperation with the present Board, as well as the new joining members.



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