In many cases, Schools try to shut down the Creation Theory in favor of the Hypothesis of Evolution. Even if that is their personal belief, that is neither good science nor education. Both sides of the story should be taught, which is not happening now (much). So yes, it is a big issue.
Creationism versus evolution is a big deal because many schools are pushing to teach creation in the classroom and stop teaching evolution. Creation is a tool used by the religious communities to try to get religion into the classrooms. Evolution is a fact that absolution needs to be taught in biology classrooms. When creation is allowed to be taught we are doing a disservice to children by making them think that there is a debate about the validity of evolution when there is not.
Yes, I believe that creationism versus evolutionism is as big of a deal in schools as the media claims it is, because students know that it is a hot button issue, and that many of their teachers have very strong opinions on the matter. Creationism and evolution also makes Christian students uncomfortable in school.
The media tends to over-embellish things to make their headlines juicy. Often, the media will take a very small thing and blow it up, causing more people to pay attention to it and, as a result, make things a bigger deal than they really are. Magazines and the News tend to create imaginary problems that do not exist in order to entice thinking which, while being good, diverts attention away from problems that actually matter.
In terms of Evolution versus Creationism, it's not as big of a deal as everyone wants to make it out to be.
Creationism versus evolutionism in public schools is only a big deal if a lawsuit happens and then there is a media firestorm. Usually, there is no big deal regarding what kids are taught in schools and issues are taken care of within the school system itself. The media only gets involved in extreme cases and then it's a big deal for a week.
Creationism versus evolutionism is not as big of a deal as the media claims it is. The children are eager to learn both sides of this issue. They have a desire to make a decision on their own regarding what they believe. The parents want their children to be brain washed and only hear one version, their version. The media jumps on the sensationalism train and interviews radical parents who can only see one side of any argument.
I do not believe that the creationism versus evolutionism debate that is happening in schools is as big as the media likes to claim that it is. I think that it is a matter that should be left for schools and districts to take care of without the interference of the media.