John Hughes testimony to the Ohio Board
of Education on March 7, 2000


March 7, 2000

Thank you for the opportunity to be able to speak. Let me give you a little background about myself, a parent of four children who have gone through the public education system in the state of Ohio. They were in the public schools for nearly a quarter of a century. I noticed we have Bob Bowers over here. I'm very thankful that Bob Bowers is back in the state of Ohio because he was superintendent of the school system our kids attended, and he did a fantastic job of providing freedom for the kids in that school system. I'm happy that he's back in the state of Ohio.

I wanted to mention three things in regards to proficiency testing. I laud you for what you are doing with the proficiency testing because I think it's very important. I think that there are areas that we need to be more rigorous and more aggressive in.

The second thing I wanted to mention is the item #13 on the 12th grade proficiency testing. I believe that's a very, very important area, and the definition that now stands in that proficiency document is a definition for macroevolution. The reason why I'm here to speak against that is I think it doesn't provide balance. I think what we need to do is to provide balance in our educational process in terms of the origin of species because there are only two possibilities that education involves when it comes to the origin of species. It's either 1) evolution, or 2) creation. There is no third alternative. And I believe to be fair and to provide balance and to provide diversity we need to present both. I'm not saying present religion or to teach religion but we need to provide a balance. Like I said, there are only two possibilities -- one of these is correct, and one is wrong. I think to be fair to the children we need to provide a balance. And how it's stated now is not providing a balance. We are only presenting macroevolution, which has not been proven and is not a fact. So we have to provide balance, I believe.

The third thing that I think is controversial and many of you may not want to hear or accept when it comes to proficiency testing is: I think as time goes on the state needs to back out of that as a state department and turn a lot of this over and turn it back to the public school systems and allow them to do the proficiency testing. I believe it's important to do proficiency testing and I think the state should be providing guidelines and goals and objectives and allowing the individual school districts to do the job that they need to do. A lot of school systems are doing very well and I think that those school systems that are doing well - it's good for the state to back out and continue and let them have control. And I thank you for the opportunity to present today.