The Education of Jennifer Miller: An Update from the Frontline in the Fight against the Anti-Evolution Agenda

From Scientific American:

Evo As the 2005 school year got underway, a new requirement in a Pennsylvania public school district mandated that all 9th-grade biology students listen to a statement questioning the validity of evolutionary theory and promoting intelligent design. Eleven parents of students in the Dover Area School District sued the local school board in protest. Four months later a Republican judge in a Pennsylvania federal court ruled in favor of the parents, issuing an eloquent defense of evolutionary theory—and a scathing rebuke to those who support intelligent design (ID) as a scientific alternative. Judge John E. Jones III wrote in the 139-page decision for Tammy Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, named for one of the parents who brought the suit, that ID was not only unscientific but was also a front used by those on the school board with a religiously motivated, pro-creationist agenda. “ID's backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny, which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class,” Jones wrote. “This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the ID movement is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID.”

Jennifer Miller was one of the Dover biology teachers who refused to read the contentious ID statement in her class and testified in support of the parents during the 2005 hearings. Miller still works in the area's school district, teaching honors biology to ninth graders and anatomy and physiology to 10th through 12th graders at Dover Area Senior High School. For the past four years she has also chaired the school's science department. Scientific American spoke with Miller about the changes she has seen since the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision was handed down five years ago.

How has teaching evolution in your classroom changed in the five years since Kitzmiller v. Dover?
Since Kitzmiller v. Dover I've definitely changed how I teach. The biggest thing is probably that evolution used to be the last thing we got to in the semester. Sometimes we maybe had one week or two weeks to cover it. Now I put evolution first, and I refer back to it to show how important it is to all topics of biology. The other thing that I really think has changed is how I cover evolution. I'm no longer afraid to cover it in depth and to have in-depth conversations about evolution. I make sure I hit [the concept of] what is science and what is not, and how a scientific theory is very different from a “theory” that we use in everyday conversation.

More here.