Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash
I think we need to rewind this discussion a little:
But let's put the problem in a nutshell. The reason America has such poor schools and the best universities in the world comes down to one thing: Parents
Homeschoolers do better because parents care, public schools do poorly because parents don't care.
Actually, I don't think it comes down to exactly one thing. It is true enough that schools don't often change the status quo without parental pressure. This can be good or bad. I think history demonstrates repeatedly that parental advocacy drives most positive (and even negative) changes. The effectiveness of such change is often contingent upon our knowledge of the problem. The better our knowledge of the problem, as parents, the more likely it is that we'll choose a reasonable course of action.
I can report from firsthand experience that parent advocacy can effect dramatic changes in the educational status quo. Public systems might not be the best innovators, but they are good copiers. Parents are naturally motivated to drive change and many are sophisticated enough to grasp complicated issues and find innovative ways to solve systemic problems. If a parent succeeds in doing so and creates a "market" for this new educational product, chances are that public systems will attempt to copy some or all of what the parent has created and "voila" ... you've got systems change. Incidentally, exercises in this considerable "parent power" is also capable of resulting in very, very bad education policy, as I believe is the case in your geology example.
Well, I started the thread with Bob, the geology teacher. The original idea, such as it was, was to show that if you try to extract evolution from the curriculum, it doesn't stop at biology ... Oh, and that, in a very real sense, the idea of presenting both sides is a ruse. The idea, for many people (excepting the well meaning people here), is that you present both sides with the intent of eradicating evolution and deep time altogether.
I want my sons to be skeptics. I want them to challenge the assumptions of those who say, "this is the right answer" or "that is the right answer" with questions like, "What makes your position more plausible than the other's? What are your position's underlying assumptions?" For the geologist in your example, it might be that one can, somewhat accurately, determine the age of rock by examining the strata. I'm no geologist, but I think this is a somewhat plausible argument. The next question might be, "What else could account for these patterns in the strata? Could it be a cataclysmic event? Is there any evidence of such an event? Are there any modern-day examples that might support challenges to your assumption?"
It's not majority rules, it's the rule of geology, or of geologists. I can't think of anyone better qualified to run the geology curriculum.
While, generally, I'd agree with you that those trained in the field should drive curriculum content moreso than school boards, but if I followed your advice here, I wouldn't be in the special education business today.
A small part of me is amused by the notion that popular science is now the target of iconoclasm. But seriously, I think skepticism is a good thing. Debate is good. Not for those who have already made up their minds, but rather for those who are interested in seeing who makes the most convincing argument.