American high school seniors rank 16th among 21 industrialized nations when it comes to achievement in science, and you can bet a frozen mastodon that the leaders — Sweden, the Netherlands, Iceland and Norway — got there with a stronger curriculum and better-trained teachers, not with endless court fights over creationism.
When I called my local elementary district last week to ask about their policy, they informed me that they did not teach creationism, and (very politely, as though they assumed I was calling to exhort them to do so) referred me to a web site which listed local private and religious schools.
Which to my mind was the most sensible answer I could have hoped for.
My childhood interest in paleonathropology, incidentally, came from a Catholic school teacher who, one day in the middle of science class, shut the door and showed us a video on human evolution and the discoveries of the Leakey family. That she told us, “Don’t tell your parents I’m teaching you this” only made us pay attention to lessons I’m sure a lot of us would have otherwise slept through.
The thing that gives me the greatest comfort in this entire Scopes Opera is that kids’ bullshit detectors are generally much more finely honed than their moms’ and dads’.