It is important to note that there is no scientific controversy about the legitimacy of evolution or global climate change. These scientific concepts have repeatedly been tested and grown stronger with each evaluation. Any controversy around these concepts is political, not scientific. Indeed, evolution is a core principle that helps to explain biology and informs the development of biology-based products and services, including pharmaceuticals, food, and biotechnology.
If Senate Bill 55 is enacted, it is our understanding that it would allow science teachers to miseducate South Dakota’s students about any topics they deemed controversial, and would prevent state and local administrators from intervening.Needless controversy, or even litigation, is sure to result.As the nation endeavors to prepare our children for the jobs of the 21st century, we should be working to strengthen our science education system — not enabling the misrepresentation of science in the classroom.
(1) an important purpose of science education is to
inform students about scientific evidence and help students develop
critical thinking skills necessary to become intelligent,
productive, and scientifically informed citizens;
(2) the teaching of some scientific subjects required
to be taught under the curriculum framework developed by the State
Board of Education may cause controversy, including climate change,
biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, and human
(3) some teachers may be unsure of expectations
concerning how to present information when controversy arises
concerning a scientific subject; and
(4) the protection of a teacher’s academic freedom is
necessary to enable the teacher to provide effective instruction
that serves the purpose stated in Subdivision (1) of this section.