Back in 1925, the Scopes trial raised the question of what should and should not be taught in school — specifically, evolution versus creationism. Eighty-five years later, that debate is still going strong. In Texas, questions are being raised about if and how the political and religious beliefs of elected officials should influence classroom content, from science to history. Also, more help for struggling homeowners, and the government rights an age-old wrong for black farmers. Chery Glaser guest hosts.
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President Obama today announced a $1.5 billion program to help struggling homeowners stay in their homes. The program targets five states: Nevada, California, Arizona, Florida and Michigan. David Abromowitz, senior fellow at American Progress, focusing on housing policy, has more on the plan that targets the unemployed and those facing foreclosure and home price declines.
David Abromowitz, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
The Obama Administration yesterday announced a $1.25 billion settlement over racial bias in the USDA loan program. If approved by Congress, this would be the second round of damages in a class-action lawsuit brought against the government by African American farmers. Could this make amends for decades of alleged discrimination against black farmers in America? Herbert White is editor of the Charlotte Post.
Herbert White, Editor, Charlotte Post
School boards often toil outside the spotlight, but that has not been case recently for the Texas State Board of Education. Almost half of the elected group are conservative Christians, who, along with the rest of their colleagues take an active role in determining the contents of textbooks used in schools across the state and, by extension, many of the books that end up in schools across the country. How much control should elected officials have over what’s taught in class? Is this breaking down the barrier between Church and State? What part should scientists, historians, and other experts play in the debate over curriculum? Do public schools too often ignore the role of religion in American history?
Cynthia Dunbar, Member, Texas State Board of Education
Kathy Miller, President, Texas Freedom Network
Susan Jacoby, journalist and author
Randall Balmer, Professor of American Religious History, Columbia’s Barnard College