Teaching Evolution

A blog devoted to teaching evolution, both in our schools and in our communities.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

School Won't Let Writer Discuss Her Topic

Lisa Westberg Peters is an author of books for children. Pinewood Elementary School in Monticello, Minn., asked her to come to teach children about writing. Seems like a good idea to me. But there's a problem. Ms. Peters wrote a Minnesota Book Award-winning book called "Our Family Tree" that teaches children about evolution. The school told Peters that she could tell the children about her writing process, but not about her subject. When she heard that, she cancelled the appearance.

Obviously, anyone who knows anything about writing understands that it would be impossible to discuss the process in any meaningful way without discussing the subject. The process of writing includes gathering information about the subject, reading about the subject, talking to other people about the subject, etc.

Brad Sanderson, principal at Pinewood Elementary, explained that "It's a cute book. There's nothing wrong with it. We just don't need that kind of debate." I just called the school and left a message on Mr. Sanderson's voicemail, explaining that schools should be places that welcome debate. I doubt it will change his mind, but it felt good.

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