>It comes up later in the text, that the Board is elected - each state
>separately? it doesn't consist of experts in different fields but of
>politicians/sponsors/parents? what can parents do (if anything) when they
>don't agree with the programmes adopted by the school (eg. if they want
>secular education)? there's nothing in the article to show that the debate
>over evolutionism got on a wider basis, to involve parents or ask teachers'
>opinions (on a large scale, not just for the paper interview) - is this the
>practice, profs write, board vetos/approves, and that's it? and, the writer
>suggests that teachers' persecution is possible (if i understood correctly).
>Is studying religion compulsory? Is it study of the Bible from a Xtian
>standpoint, or do they allow (logically, should require) alternative
>interpretatiopns and criticisms? Other religions?
There are over 14,000 school districts in the U.S. Most are elected, though voter turnouts of just 5% of the eligible population aren't uncommon. Each district is heavily dependent on locally generated taxes, so rich towns have a lot more money to spend that poor towns. Americans purport to love these decentralized models, but they result in vast adminstrative duplication, vast inequities in funding, and schoolboards full of walking embarrassments. But with a 5% turnout, an organized group like the Christian fundies can easily dominate an election. And despite all the lipservice paid to local control, most people pay little attention to education (or any other form of politics), so the fundies can easily dominate the process between elections.
The Supreme Court banned prayer in public schools sometime in the early 1960s; I remember reading a bible verse and saying the Lord's prayer from kindergarten through the third grade. But the religious right keeps trying to sneak prayer back in, through "moments of silence," and the like.