People For the American Way Foundation is a staunch defender of public education. We believe that public education—like an independent judiciary and fair elections—is an essential component of our American democracy. We support comprehensive science education including the best scientific knowledge about evolution and Darwin's theory of natural selection.
Science education has long been under attack from right-wing religious activists who have attempted to remove evolution from the classroom. The campaign against evolution is not a scientific movement or an educational movement. It is a political campaign being waged by people who think their religious beliefs should be taught as science in our public school classrooms. Holding science curriculum hostage to religious ideologies is not only educationally unsound, but also violates the constitutional separation of church and state.
Teaching genuine science, including evolution and natural selection, is the only acceptable choice for public schools. "Creationism" and "Intelligent Design" (more accurately called Intelligent Design Creationism) are not science; they are religious beliefs, as federal courts have recognized. As such, they cannot and should not be taught in a science classroom.
The deceptive call to "teach the debate" is just another way to attack science. There is no real scientific debate about evolution. Pretending otherwise for political or religious reasons doesn't change the reality; it only undermines the quality of science our students are taught.
When science education is controlled by religious rather than scientific belief, our children will be unprepared for higher education, citizenship, and life. Americans need critical skills to function in the twenty-first century, and that requires a quality science education.
This does not mean that public school students cannot be taught about religion and religious beliefs. To the contrary, in appropriate courses (such as World Religions), students can and should learn about the beliefs of different faith groups, including beliefs about the origin of the universe and development of humankind. This teaching simply does not belong in science classes.
People For the American Way Foundation strongly defends the teaching of evolution as an essential component of a quality science education. PFAWF works with students, parents, teachers, and community leaders to defend public schools and the integrity of science education when they come under attack from the Religious Right and its political allies.