Teaching ID in Public Schools
In Origin of Species, Charles Darwin cautioned that “a fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.” Unfortunately, the vast majority of public schools today reject Darwin’s advice, and only teach students about the pro-evolution view. What follows are some crucial Dos and DON’Ts to follow whenever trying to positively influence education:
DO contact individuals in the Intelligent Design movement before changing your teaching methods. This is a must. Most of us have extensive experience working with public schools, and can provide you with many resources or connect you with others who can. There are many unforeseen obstacles you’ll encounter when dealing with public education, and we can offer important information unique to your specific situation to help you navigate these tricky areas.
DO NOT push intelligent design into the public school curriculum. All of the major pro-intelligent design organizations oppose any efforts to require the teaching of intelligent design by school districts or state boards of education. The mainstream ID movement agrees that attempts to mandate teaching about intelligent design only politicize the theory and will hinder fair and open discussion of the merits of the theory among scientists and within the scientific community.
DO teach both the scientific evidence for and against neo-Darwinian evolution in an objective fashion. Instead of mandating intelligent design, we seek to increase the coverage of evolution in textbooks. We believe that evolution should be fully and completely presented to students, and they should learn more about evolutionary theory, including its unresolved issues. In other words, evolution should be taught as a scientific theory that is open to critical scrutiny.
DO protect teacher academic freedom to teach good science on this topic. We can offer you examples of successful state and local academic freedom policies that permit teachers to teach both the scientific evidence for and against Darwinian evolution. Pro-ID organizations oppose efforts to persecute individual teachers who may wish to discuss the scientific debate over design in an objective and pedagogically appropriate manner.
DO NOT ask that evolution be removed or diminished from the curriculum. Even if you personally disagree with it, the scientific case for Darwinian evolution should still be presented to students. Students need to learn about evolution to be informed citizens—especially if they plan to attend college. However students shouldn’t only learn the pro-Darwin view. Rather than taking this subject out of the classroom, students should study Darwinian evolution objectively, learning about both the scientific evidence for and against the theory
DO point out that leading science education theorists agree that the best way to teach science is to let students engage in critical thinking where they can weigh alternative evidence and debate controversial issues. As a 2010 paper in the journal Science explained, students learn science best when taught “to discriminate between evidence that supports … or does not support” a scientific concept. When science is taught in this manner, students learn the critical thinking skills they need to think like good scientists
 See J. Osborne, “Arguing to Learn in Science: The Role of Collaborative, Critical Discourse,” Science, 328:463-66 (April 23, 2010).