Ark Park educational, cultural experience
While some may find cause to attack the Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum for our Christian stance, others wrongly try to stop school groups doing what is totally constitutional — taking trips to our two popular themed attractions.
Here’s what respected religious freedom attorneys wrote about the legality of a field trip to our attractions:
“If public schools were bringing students to the Ark and museum and declaring, “THIS interpretation is the only real truth that you should personally accept,” then that would be a violation of the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution.
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If classes are coming to the museum or Ark in an objective fashion, however, to show students world-class exhibits and one group’s interpretation of the origin of man and Earth history, then the field trip is just fine as an exceptional and voluntary educational and cultural experience.
Public school officials should neither personally endorse nor diminish the museum’s view but should present it objectively. Ultimately, it’s possible to attend the Creation Museum or Ark to teach rather than preach and to educate rather than indoctrinate.”
We encourage all kinds of groups to come and visit the Ark and museum, as they have been doing since we opened.
CEO, Answers in Genesis, the Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum
Museum trips break law
I agree with a recent opinion piece, “Ark Encounter doesn’t qualify as college prep.” No Kentucky college should ever take high-school students on a trip to either the Creation Museum or the Ark Encounter. Both are anti-science religious ministries.
Using our tax dollars on such field trips is just as much a violation of both the U.S. and Kentucky constitutions as visiting a Christian church, Jewish synagogue, Muslim mosque or Satanic temple.
Those responsible for these violations of law should be held accountable and Kentucky must do everything in its power to make sure these illegal field trips do not occur again. Teaching children that giants, dinosaurs and humans once fought each other in gladiator-like combat is religious indoctrination, not educational instruction. Our state is slowly but surely becoming a worldwide laughingstock.
Public education endangered
Free public education is the foundation of American success. But in recent years the support of our lawmakers for free kindergarten through 12th grade education and affordable higher education has disappeared.
Funding for textbooks, teacher training and financial aid for higher education has been cut. Charter schools drain already scarce money. State pension programs are not funded as promised.
Nationwide, fewer young Americans are training to be teachers. They are sitting in classrooms and witnessing teachers struggle to teach despite the challenges. They know teachers have fewer resources, old technology, more students, more responsibilities, less pay than other college-educated Americans and no guarantees of a pension.
Young people ask why they should enter an unappreciated and overworked profession. In coming years, the classrooms will still be full of students, but qualified teachers will be scarce if the anti-public education agenda of our elected representatives doesn’t change.
Vote for candidates who will support public education instead of starving and destroying it.
Cynthia W. Resor
Declining school standards
Considering the low rankings of Kentucky on a variety of national scales, why would anyone be surprised at the latest recommendation for state students to be able to pass a test in the 10th grade that demonstrates an eight-grade level of competency to graduate from high school?
This must be of great comfort to colleges and universities, as well as potential employers.
At least this is consistent with some thinking. Major testing companies have “renormed” tests in the past. The more cynical would equate this with dumbing down the test. The optics of the diploma received after completing four years of high school representing a middle-school level of learning support a continuing pattern of lowering the bar for education and across society.
Unfortunately, while many students may understand what a tree is, fewer will be expected to identify the tree or its importance. To everyone’s detriment, only a select few will get the opportunity to see the forest.
More jobs, but…
My friend Jessica is a low-wage worker in the food service industry with no employer-sponsored health insurance or other benefits. Recently I asked her what she thought of President Donald Trump’s claim that his administration is creating record numbers of jobs. “It’s true,” she said, “and I should know; I’ve got three of them.”
Election reforms imperative
Washington is dysfunctional and our democracy is vanishing. Members of Congress align along party lines, voting without reading or understanding legislation. No need to think or care about how it will affect their constituents.
The complete lack of cooperation and open hostility between the parties has robbed us of our voice in government. Legislators even refuse to speak to citizens whose views differ from their own. Where is the representation?
If there is a way to salvage the grand experiment, it would be election reform. There should be term limits. No one should make politics their career and new blood would bring fresh ideas and hopefully remove long-held hostilities. Enact spending limits on campaigns, overturn Citizens United and stop contributions from political action committees. Initiate transparency and let the legislative branch make the laws without the interference of lobbyists.
Without action we may be witnessing the swan song of our democratic form of government.