Rio Rancho: School Employees Union opposes "Science" Policy

The Rio Rancho (NM) School District adopted a slickly-worded “Science” policy in August, which many fear will open up the classrooms of this Intel bedroom community to “Intelligent Design.” (See earlier reports on the Thumb here, here, here, here, and here.)

Now, the school employees union has sued to stop the policy, and the Saga has made the National News.

Elaine D. Briseño of the Albuquerque Journal, in an Oct. 15th, 2005 article titled “Rio Rancho School Evolution Policy Challenged” (subscription)reported that

The Rio Rancho school employees union wants the school district to shelve its new science policy relating to evolution until it consults teachers about how it will affect them in the classroom. Failing to do so violates state law, says union attorney Andrew Lotrich, who has filed a complaint with the Rio Rancho Labor Relations Board. The 1,200-member Rio Rancho School Employees’ Union wants the labor board to remove the policy from the books until it is brought to the table as part of ongoing contract negotiations. …

More of the article is available on the NMSR Rio Rancho Updates Page.

Last week, USA Today’s web site included an AP article which noted that

As a federal judge hears arguments over whether a Pennsylvania school district can include “intelligent design” in its biology curriculum, Dan Barbour fears the New Mexico high school where he works could face a similar showdown. The school board in Rio Rancho, N.M., voted in August to allow the discussion of alternative theories to evolution in high school science class. Critics say that could mean intelligent design, and some faculty are averse to teaching a concept whose scientific validity has been questioned, said Barbour, the school’s science and math director.

“The thing that makes me nervous is that in the classroom a teacher is to be unbiased, but students are allowed to express their opinions. Can a teacher remain unbiased? Can we keep it from becoming a preaching session?” he said.

Science educators around the nation are closely monitoring the trial …

Our own esteemed Professor Steve Steve is mistakenly identified as a “panda puppet” in the accompanying photo.

Stay Tuned to the Thumb for future developments.