To the Editor:

In Abramo Ottolenghi's long letter dated 11/27/99, "Should we blame educational system or society," he makes a valid argument when he suggests, "Societal values are also reflected in the political choices made for the educational system and the choices made by it." He criticizes Dispatch columnist Sowell, some school board members and in particular the Kansas State Bd. of Ed. and their alleged reluctance to discuss dinosaurs. However, he leaves out the real culprits -- the misnamed American Civil Liberties Union and the "People for the American Way". Here is a prime example of what they did in Columbus and repeated nationwide.

About 1975 the Columbus School Board passed a resolution unanimously to encourage teachers when the subject of origins came up to discuss the evidence for and against evolution. It was not a requirement. But ACLU and PFAW found it offensive and threatened the board with a lawsuit in 1984 if they allowed this intellectual challenge to both students and teachers to continue. Faced with a possible lawsuit the board capitulated to the political pressure from these special interest
hatchet groups and rescinded the resolution.

Scientists, teachers, students and school board members who believe in academic freedom and presenting opposing evidence are not afraid of discussing "dinosaurs". It's the special interest groups such as ACLU and the Nat. Acad. of Sciences who are afraid of dinosaurs and evidences for their coexistence with man. They too are responsible for the "dumbing down of American schools" (including parochial). The pressure to teach only the 19th century evolutionary fairy tale -- "life came from non-life over billions of years" is awesome. No alternative evidences permitted -- Duh!!.

Hugh Miller