13 November, 2009

Combatting IDiots in the School Board

Spencer, Iowa kids are going to get the science education they need, thanks to folks who ensured the school board didn't get snookered by shysters.  And the lessons learned there can apply to anyone whose district is facing an invasion of IDiots:
The defeat of this "religious liberty" policy does harbor potential lessons for others trying to fight these anti-science actions in local school districts. First, college faculty members should not underestimate the power of their opinions on these issues even in school districts where these faculty members do not live.

Yes, some school board members might resent outsiders, but others welcome expertise and attention from respected institutions. This is especially the case if advice is given with courtesy and tact. The school board must be convinced that the aim is to further good science education rather than to impose some ideological hegemony on a small school district. One should try to contact school board members, and see how open they are to outside advice before dismissing any interaction as a lost cause.

Good coordinated actions by coalitions are extremely important. Although I am an incompatibilist in terms of religion and science (i.e., I don’t think that religion and science are philosophically compatible), the fact remains that many religious people do support evolution, science education, and the separation of religion and government. When a common goal is to keep creationism out of schools, and good science education in schools, then the practical thing to do is to work together with interfaith alliances.

Finally, vigilance and rapid action are always important. This means having shoes on the ground -- a ready group of educators, scientists, and other allies ready to write letters, draft petitions, and even travel (in our case, about 3-4 hours) in person to places where we could make a difference.
 Good advice, all.  Keep it handy just in case DIsco comes dancing into town...

(Tip o' the shot glass to the Panda's Thumb)

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