American Federation of Teachers Statement on President Bush’s Comments on Intelligent Design
WASHINGTON, Aug. 4 -- The following is a statement by Antonia Cortese, executive vice president, American Federation of Teachers, on President Bush’s Comments that ’Intelligent Design’ should be taught in the nation’s science classrooms:
President Bush’s misinformed comments on “intelligent design” signal a huge step backward for science education in the United States. The president’s endorsement of such a discredited, nonscientific view is akin to suggesting that students be taught the “alternative theory” that the earth is flat or that the sun revolves around the earth. Intelligent design does not belong in the science classroom because it is not science.
By backing concepts that lack scientific merit, President Bush is undermining his own pledge to “leave no child behind.” If students are to reach higher standards, and if they are to compete effectively with their international peers, they must be exposed to high-quality curricula that are research based and that reflect the best available knowledge in any given field. In the science classroom, that necessitates the study of evolution, one of the most important, powerful, and well-substantiated concepts in science.
Intelligent design has been repudiated by every respected scientific organization in the nation, including the National Academies, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Science Teachers Association. Even President Bush’s top science adviser, John H. Marburger III, has acknowledged that “evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology” and that “intelligent design is not a scientific concept.” To preserve the integrity of science education, President Bush should heed this advice.
The AFT represents 1.3 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; nurses and healthcare workers; and federal, state and local government employees.
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