Ohio School Board Member Drops Push For ‘Intelligent Design’

A member of the Springboro, Ohio, school board has dropped a proposal to add “intelligent design” to the curriculum after it sparked a negative reaction.

Kelly Kohls, who was elected to the board as a Tea Party activist on a platform of fiscal responsibility two years ago, told the Dayton Daily News, “Creationism is a significant part of the history of this country. It is an absolutely valid theory and to omit it means we are omitting part of the history of this country.”

Kohls added, “My input on creationism has everything [to do] with me being a parent and not a member of the Tea Party. We are motivated people who want to change the course of this country. Eliminating God from our public lives, I think, is a mistake and is why we have gone in the direction of spending beyond our means.”

Kohls received support from Scott Anderson, a fellow member of the five-member board.

“If it came up, I would support it,” Anderson said. “I’m a Christian. I believe God created us. I’d like to see God back in school.”

During a July board meeting, Kohls asked the district’s curriculum director to look into ways to provide supplemental instruction about creationism. She insisted she was not pushing the idea but just had some questions.

Other members of the board said the proposal was legally problematic and a distraction from pressing financial problems in the school system.

“I think we have other issues more important to deal with,” said board member Mike Kruse. “No way, no how, no place should it be in public schools. I’m hoping the board would bring this to a vote and get the issue resolved.”

Parents were upset that their children might be taught religion in science class. And civil liberties activists noted that the courts have declared intelligent design to be a religious concept and barred it from public school biology classes as a violation of church-state separation.

Kohls quickly backed off – but then came up with another bad idea: school vouchers for tuition at religious and other private schools.

“I think people should have options,” she said, indicating that she would like to see expanded “school choice.”

On Americans United’s “Wall of Separation” blog, Communications Director Joseph L. Conn had another suggestion.

“Here’s a better idea, Ms. Kohls: use taxpayer money for public schools and other public projects and let churches and church schools operate with the voluntary donations of the faithful,” Conn wrote. “That’s the mandate of the U.S. Constitution and the American way. It’s also ‘fiscally responsible.’”