Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Creationism in Science Class in RISD

Do you think Creationism should be taught in science classes? That was the yes/no question asked of the five candidates for Richardson ISD school board at a League of Women Voters forum April 24, 2014.

Four candidates answered no. Justin Bono said yes.

My reaction? Horror. "His actions on the RISD school board deserve heightened scrutiny to make sure the district as a whole does nothing to promote this misguided idea."

Unknown to me, before I wrote that, Justin Bono had already clarified his answer (my bad). After the jump, Justin Bono's clarification.

In a comment on his campaign's Facebook page on April 28, Justin Bono wrote:
In answering a Yes/No question, I regret that I wasn't able to fully explain my position on this issue. Additionally, in being the first to answer that question in the lighting round format, I didn't process that the question was specific to the science curriculum. I do not think that the teaching of creationism should be part of the core science curriculum. As I will encourage my own children to learn about and understand various sides of any issue, I would not have a problem with creationism being included in some sort of elective course (philosophy, religious studies, etc) where a balanced presentation of all viewpoints was presented. In addition, I don't anticipate this even becoming an issue within the purview of the Board, is not a level of detail where I believe a Trustee belongs, and is not part of my campaign platform or an agenda I'm pursuing. I'm hopeful that clarifies my stance, and welcome further conversation if additional questions exist. Thank you for taking the time to ask.
Source: Justin Bono.
Yep, that satisfies my concern. End of issue. Call off the heightened scrutiny.

This is an example of how "yes or no" questions can backfire. If the candidate doesn't fully understand the question, he could say "yes" when he means "no." Given a chance to elaborate, such mistakes are usually apparent before the candidate finishes his answer.

It also applies to school tests. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I had a semester final exam in college. (Do they still use blue books?) The question was posed in the format of "Yes or no? Explain." I didn't understand the question, didn't have a clue whether the answer was yes or no, so I guessed "No" and then proceeded to write down everything I knew about the subject, hoping to get at least partial credit. Well, I apparently knew more than I thought I did because the professor grading my test paper wrote, "Then you mean Yes" and gave me full credit for my answer.

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