Never in my years working in the intelligent design movement have I met anyone more committed to providing students an honest education and more dedicated to restoring academic freedom to schools across America than United States Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA). Not only has Senator Santorum been a help to me personally, but he has spent the last twelve years in the U.S. Senate pushing for education reform.
In 2001, he added the Santorum Amendment to the No Child Left Behind Act. This amendment calls for critical analysis of all data surrounding evolution--both data supporting and opposing the theory. It allows students to discuss the controvery and full range of scientific theories concerning the origin and development of life. It was an amendment that gave students in public school science classes their rights of speech, thought, and academia.
Unfortunately, the citizens of my home state of Pennsylvania decided students should not be allowed to think freely and expand their horizons. On November 7, 2006, State Treasurer Bob Casey, Jr. ousted Senator Santorum from office by a 59 to 41 precent margin. To be fair, Mr. Casey is a good man and comes from a family dedicated to raising education standards. (Pennsylvania had one of America's top public educatin programs under Casey's father, Governor Bob Casey, Sr.). Mr. Casey has done many great things for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania serving as the former auidtor general and currect state treasurer.
That being said, however, there is no knowing whether Mr. Casey will support academic freedom as Senator Santorum did. He viciously attacked Santorum during the campaign for having "extreme" views--such as those in the Santorum Amendment. As a student, I find it quite offensive that allowing students to think and analyze material freely constitutes as an "extreme" view.
Indeed, Pennsylvanians and Americans lost a great senator Tuesday night. But more than that, students and all those who support academic freedom lost a great voice in Washington, D.C. I thank Senator Santorum for all that he has done and will continue to do for the students and teachers of this nation and I wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.
However, even without Senator Santorum, the fight will go on.