Four states have pending bills which will effectively allow teaching of Creationism in science classrooms.
An ‘alternative facts’ South Dakota bill sparks fears for science education in the Trump era
The bill is one of four that have been introduced so far in 2017 in state legislatures — the others are in Indiana, Oklahoma and Texas — that would allow science denial in the classroom. Since 2014, at least 60 “academic freedom” bills — which permit teachers to paint established science as controversial — have been filed in state legislatures all over the country. Louisiana passed one in 2008, and Tennessee did, too, in 2012.
Some version of the South Dakota bill has been introduced into the state’s legislature for each of the past four years, but this is the first time it passed in the house in which it originated. The Senate approved it, 23 to 12. The state House is dominated by Republicans, so critics of the legislation are hoping they can stop it in the House Education Committee before it reaches the floor.
Glenn Branch, deputy director of the National Center for Science Education, a nonprofit that defends the teaching of evolution and climate change, agrees with Wolf’s reading of the bill and said he is concerned that President Trump’s denial/questioning of man-made climate change and Vice President Pence’s denial of the theory of evolution could encourage state legislators to push through new anti-science legislation.
Science bill leaves teachers, parents worried
Ross Blank-Libra, a science teacher at Washington High School, said he does not see a need for legislators to create laws about what's taught in the classroom.
"I thought that when the state adopted standards, that pretty much takes care of what we talk about in class," Blank-Libra said.
Blank-Libra added that he sees no problem with instruction on creationism and other nonscientific topics, but whenever a student brings up those topics in his classroom, he's got a standard response:
"That isn't science, and so we're not going to teach that in a science class."
Time and time and time again we see efforts to put religion into public school curriculum. Why can't people understand that religious instruction belongs at home?