Tennessee Senate approved a bill allowing teachers to present challenges to evolution and climate change theories.
Conservatives: It is absurd to deny teachers and opportunity to encourage critical thinking skills.
Liberals: It is absurd that we would allow teachers to present definitely false material as credible.
Libertarians: It is absurd our only option is to choose between these two extremes.
At the heart of all of the quality and content discussions of education should be the virtual monopoly on secondary and primary education the government has. This discussion is not evidence for one or the other side; it is evidence for why we need more direct competition between schools because what's optimal depends on what families want to prioritize. The best option is the middle ground:
Yes, we should take every opportunity we can to develop critical thinking skills. If students get excited about evolution v. creationism, then the teacher should leverage that interest into instruction.
And yes, we don't want nonsense to crowd out good ideas, especially ideas which are hard to understand or have a lot of interesting applications.
Should we focus on breadth (critical thinking skills) or depth (deep understanding or an important subject)? The answer should be up to you, not politicians.