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School board candidates discuss intelligent design

October 20, 2008

Russell F. Williams II, 65

Hagerstown

What is your position on science education, particularly with regard to evolution vs. intelligent design?

Knowledge of the physical sciences and the scientific method are a lifetime protection for our students. Daily people are bombarded with ads for new methods to lose weight, increase in gas mileage, stop aging, or get relief from pain and disease. People who have not learned what a good scientific study is will be taken in by these often worthless products and treatments. Students should be taught that testimonials are worthless in evaluating a product. All students should have a clear understanding of what constitutes a random population, the Hawthorne effect, and what is involved in a double-blind study.

Do you support mandating school uniforms for public school students?

What are the advantages/disadvantages of uniforms?

Advantages: Standardization of dress and fewer violations of clothing rules, less teasing of students wearing hand-me-downs, less evaluation of students based on their clothing. Disadvantages: Difficulty acquiring all sizes, some parents will object to uniforms, lawyers may get involved, initial difficulty acquiring used uniforms, students can still tease each other about other dress items, harder to determine at a distance who violated behavior rules. Everything considered, I believe the disadvantages of uniforms outweigh the advantages, therefore, I am currently against uniforms.

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Wayne D. Ridenour, 57

Williamsport

What is your position on science education, particularly with regard to evolution vs. intelligent design?

In science education, Washington County public schools are directed by the voluntary state curriculum as well as courses of study recommended by both Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs. All are well designed and provide challenges for our students in the classroom and lab settings. Evolution is a part of the curriculum for certain science classes. Intelligent design is not included in science classes but would and could be included in Philosophy courses at the Honors or Advanced Placement level. It would also be appropriate in a World Cultures course in the context of comparative religion studies.

Do you support mandating school uniforms for public school students?

I do not believe at this time, uniforms or standardized attire for students is necessary. There may be time in the future when cultural events or changes occur that may hinder the ability of our students to maximize their potential. If indicators point to a need for uniformity to resolve the issue, I would not be opposed to attempting uniform attire as a remedy.




Margaret Lowery, 61

Halfway

What is your position on science education, particularly with regard to evolution vs. intelligent design?

My position on science education, is that I am aware of challenges to teaching evolution. Dover Area School Board in Pennsylvania wanted students to be aware of gaps in Darwin's Theory and have introduction to other theories of evolution including, but not limited to, intelligent design. The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. However, teaching evolution in 21st century America states that intelligent design and other alternatives to the theory of evolution are not recognized as science and do not belong in public school science classrooms.

Do you support mandating school uniforms for public school students?

I would like to involve all stakeholders before any decision would be made on implementing mandatory school uniforms. I prefer the description "standardized dress policy." When students come from economically disadvantaged homes and can not afford uniforms, then we need to have something that can be afforded for all students. Potential benefits of school uniforms are: preventing gang colors, instilling discipline among students, a sense of community, reducing distractions and the need for administrators to be clothes police. Potential problems of uniforms are: students and parents argue that uniforms violate their freedom of expression, costs concerns and religious dress concerns.




Justin Hartings, 37

Keedysville

What is your position on science education, particularly with regard to evolution vs. intelligent design?

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