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Gazette editorial: Sad mess in Tyler County schools

It’s disturbing that the president of Tyler County’s school board removed her children from public schools, so she can teach them at home with a “Christian-based curriculum” — and later enroll them in fundamentalist online courses.

It’s disturbing that Bonnie Henthorn will continue collecting $160 per meeting to lead Tyler’s public schools, even though she thinks the public schools are unfit for her own children.

In our eyes, she’s unsuited for public school leadership.

News reports make it seem that another Scopes Monkey Trial is brewing in Tyler County. Henthorn told education reporter Ryan Quinn she is upset because public school biology classes teach evolution as a fact. She said she wants her children to learn “opposite science, because there is science on the other side.”

No there isn’t. All of the world’s reputable biologists are confident that every animal, including humans, slowly evolved from more primitive creatures over eons through the process of natural selection, as outlined by Charles Darwin a century and a half ago. The Smithsonian Institution in Washington has a huge wing illustrating evolution, and multitudes of schoolchildren visit it yearly.

Fundamentalists endlessly dispute evolution, contending that planet Earth was created only about 10,000 years ago — despite scientific evidence that the universe is around 13 billion or 14 billion years old and Earth itself is around 4 billion years old. They try to teach “creationism” or “intelligent design” in science classes, but courts block the attempts as illegal intrusions of religion into government schools.

One of Henthorn’s fellow board members, P.J. Wells, agrees with her. He told reporter Quinn that schools should be allowed to teach children that God created all creatures exactly as they are. He said scientists “want us to believe that we evolved from apes, which we didn’t.”

A strong odor of ignorance hangs over Tyler schools.

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