Teaching non-science as science

Nearly 70 bills encouraging the teaching of theories other than evolution – creationism or intelligent design, or some combination thereof – were pushed in multiple states over the last decade. Nearly all have failed, either in statehouses or courtrooms.

But a group of committed legislators who have pushed these measures have now hit upon a new formula: a group of bills that would simply allow teachers to teach whatever they would like. (Read more here)

 

A bill along these lines just pasted the South Dakota House (23-12):

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:
Section 1. That chapter 13-1 be amended by adding a NEW SECTION to read:
No teacher may be prohibited from helping students understand, analyze, critique, or review in an objective scientific manner the strengths and weaknesses of scientific information presented in courses being taught which are aligned with the content standards established pursuant to § 13-3-48.

As stated by a high school science instructional coach:

“This is horrible, but let’s say I believe in eugenics.” S.B. 55 “says that I couldn’t be prohibited, I couldn’t be stopped from teaching that, as long as I did it in an objective scientific manner, and it doesn’t specify what that means.” (more here).

So. That’s not great. Better put by Glenn Branch (deputy director of the National Center for Science Education):

“The prominence of science denial in the new administration may embolden creationists and climate change deniers to pressure their local teachers; even in the absence of such pressure, it may cause teachers to self-censor in order to avoid the possibility of conflict over these socially — but not scientifically — controversial topics.”

So get out there, get involved with your local school board and keep talking about/spreading good science! I don’t know how to end this on a happy note.

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