Teaching Creationism as Part of the United States Public School Science Curricula Paul Godden March 25th 2013 EDUC800: Curriculum Design and Implementation
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution (the Establishment Clause), forbids the establishment of a national religion and/or the advancement of any one religious doctrine over another in American public schools (U.S. Const. Amend. I, 1791). Since the Scopes monkey trial of 1925 (Linder, 2008), a controversy has arisen across the United States, between the teaching of scientific theory in the form of evolutionary science and religious doctrine in the form of creationism. Introduction
Regardless of legal status, considerable evidence exists to suggest that creationism is taught as part of the hidden, if not the overt or intended American public school science curriculum. Berkman and Plutzer (2011)… • 31%of survey respondents advocated creationism by allocating up to one hour of class time • 60% of respondents were neither advocates for evolutionary biology nor its alternatives • 28% of respondents indicated that they were advocates of evolutionary biology The Overt and Hidden Curricula
“I’m a creationist and I plan my schedule so that I run out of time and don’t have to cover evolution” and “I refuse to teach evolution, but I talk about creationism whenever I can.” (Moore, 2004, p. 861) Definitions of the hidden curriculum provided by Pratt (1994) and McNeill (2009), seem to suggest a more subtle approach, involving ethos rather than civil disobedience. Hidden in Plain Sight
This more subtle approach can be seen in the use of media as part of the hidden curriculum. Ellsworth (2005) discussed the experience of repeated exposure to media as being an almost subliminal experience… “[O]f drinking up and swallowing ‘facts’ and ‘information’ in a way that leaves ‘unshakable images’ and ideas that can be remembered ‘warmly’ for 30 years” (p. 22) Overt or Hidden?
The faithbook poster, a popular “visual aid” marketed as a parody of social networking and modern culture, and aimed at the “youth demographic” (Clark, 2009, p. 1) of grades 9–12. • Carrie Marie Underwood is an American country music singer, songwriter, and actress who won the fourth season of American Idol, in 2005. The entry here refers to "Jesus, Take the Wheel", a song in which a mother is about to crash her car and hands over control of the vehicle to Jesus. This is not recommended by the OPP. • The entry on Darwin shows him apologizing for “getting evolution wrong”. A reference to the "Lady Hope Story", which claimed he had made a deathbed renunciation of natural selection in favour of creationism. The claims were repudiated by Darwin's children and discounted by historians. (Dawkins, 2006; Yates 2003). A Quick Sketch of the Hidden
Messages are readily absorbed by connections to popular culture (Hedges, 2011; Marsh 2000). Learning occurs in the subliminal manner discussed by Ellsworth (2005) or directly if used as a teaching resource, and may be mediated, re-presented, or refused in favour of a dominant ideology, as described by Giroux and Simon (1989), in their discussion of cultural influences imposed by “principles of the dominant society” (p. 1); e.g., evolution rejected in favour of creationism. Rejecting the Overt for the Hidden?
Finally, the idea of currere Pinar’s (2012) self-analysis of educational experience, provides for a method of articulating connections between academic and personal knowledge, merging the overt and the hidden curriculum, as discussed by Kissel-Ito (2008). It is this “merging” of the overt and hidden curricula that allows for the bias and misinformation we have seen demonstrated by the nature of the evolution versus creationism debate. Merging the Overt and the Hidden Through Currere
Thank you for listening. Paul Godden March 26th 2013 EDUC800: Curriculum Design and Implementation All presentation materials will be available electronically from http://www.pauldgodden.com/resources.html