Abramo Ottolenghi's testimony to the Ohio Board
of Education on March 7, 2000

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March 7, 2000

I am Abramo Ottolenghi. I am speaking on behalf of myself. I am a Professor Emeritus from The Ohio State University now called the Department of Virology, Immunology and Human Genetics, formerly called Department of Medical Microbiology.

I had the opportunity to work on the model curriculum and the opportunity to serve on the committee that put forth these science competencies that you have before you. At the time when we did the model curriculum I must confess I was naive and actually went for the language that is in there which talks about change over time. The context of this was that at that time, there had been much to do in the State about the program on outcome based education, and I for one could see how this whole thing of evolution would just get involved in that because of the political environment. But let us be clear about it in my view when we talk about evolution, at least the way it comes by, it is not a science issue, it is not an education issue, it is purely a political issue. I think that we need to view it that way.

I served as a school board member for what I like to call one of the premiere districts in Ohio for 11 years right here in Worthington, so I am cognizant of the "political" problems that things may arise. When the Kansas issue came up, and I am sure that you are all familiar, I personally felt that I did not want to see Ohio be featured in "Time" magazine in the same light as Kansas was. It is bad for business, it is bad for education, and I think that those of you who have seen and if you have followed the Kansas saga will agree with this.

I have a proposal to make, and I am making it with the utmost respect -- that you postpone item #14, which is the one now on the green sheet (although Mr. Elfner spoke about item #13, I see that we moved it to item #14) -- that you postpone it until next month. As far as I am concerned, I have no problem with any of the other stuff including the way that Mr. Elfner addressed. If you postpone item #14 until next month when you meet with the Board of Regents ... The ... that has been mentioned, the Board of Regents commom expectations, which are essentially the same thing as these objectives that you have before you do speak very precisely about evolution.

Well, you're going to have a fight either way, so you might as well resolve it with them at the same time. And so I would urge you to consider postponing ... Now as a teacher I learn to read faces, and I think that Dr. Zelman is not very happy with my suggestion ... By the way, as a teacher, Madame President, as a teacher you push a button and it's a two hour lecture so if you will please excuse me, but I'm doing this and of course Dr. Zelman's advice to you as far as delaying this thing is more important than mine. And I will thank you very much Ma'am.