- Texas House Bill 1485, introduced Feb. 2, supposedly offers science teachers the academic freedom to teach “the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories” covered in the state science standards,” including “climate change, biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, and human cloning.” No vote has been scheduled yet.
- Oklahoma Senate Bill 393, which was passed by the chamber, encourages teachers to teach “scientific controversies” and protects them if they do. Essentially, this would give teachers the freedom to teach nonscientific principles as equivalent to actual science.
- South Dakota Senate Bill 55 died in a state House committee earlier this year after passing the Senate; it would have allowed teachers to essentially teach anything they want as science as long as they used certain language.
- Indiana Senate Resolution 17, which targets the teaching of evolution in public schools, passed the state Senate in a 40-to-9 vote in February. It ostensibly urges the state Department of Education “to reinforce support of teachers who choose to teach a diverse curriculum.”
- Alabama Senate Joint Resolution 78 passed in committee. Glenn Branch, deputy director of the National Center on Science Education, said if it becomes law that it would “send a strong signal that the state legislature approves of Alabama’s public school teachers presenting supposed alternatives to evolution, to climate change, and to any of the material covered in the newly revised state science standards.” He said it could possibly spark litigation over the science curriculum.
- In Florida, two textbook challenges have been making progress in the legislature this year. House Bill 989 passed the Florida House on Friday by a 94-to-25 vote, while the companion Senate Bill 1210 passed the Senate Appropriations Committee, 16 to 0. Both bills give taxpayers the right to object to the use of instructional materials in the public schools, though climate change and evolution are obviously two of the key targets of the legislation.
- In Iowa, House File 480, referred to the House Education Committee on March 1, seeks to require teachers in Iowa’s public schools to include “opposing points of view or beliefs” to accompany any instruction relating to evolution, the origins of life, global warming or human cloning.
- In Idaho, the House of Representatives voted 56 to 9 on March 24 to adopt Senate Concurrent Resolution 121, which finalizes a decision by lawmakers to delete five standards — which discuss climate change and human impact on the environment — from a proposed new set of state science standards for Idaho. The House Education Committee had voted in February to nix the five standards because they supposed failed to present “both sides of the debate,” and the Senate Education Committee did the same thing shortly after.
April 22, 2017 at 12:49 PM EDT