In a bill that’s very similar to one proposed by Indiana legislators last week, South Dakota’s Senate Bill 114 would allow Creationism and climate change-denial to make their way into public school classrooms.
The bill would:
… create an environment within all elementary and secondary schools that encourages students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about scientific subjects taught in curriculum and coursework…
That all sounds well and good… until you get to this part:
Ah, yes. The “strengths and weaknesses” of theories like evolution, which are as solid as theories get in science.
In addition, neither the Board of Education, nor any local school board, or school administrator may prohibit any teacher from helping students understand, analyze, critique, or review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the courses…
The bill, which has a stated purpose to “encourage and protect the teaching of certain scientific information,” is sponsored by 10 senators and 12 representatives — all Republican. Of course.
As I wrote before, students can already “explore scientific questions” in class and teachers should make a good faith attempt to provide answers. Furthermore, science is all about asking questions. But that’s not what this law is about. The purpose is to make it possible to sneak Creationist and other anti-science ideas into public school classes under the guise of “teaching the controversy,” not discussing actual scientific controversies (which no one has a problem with).
Now would be a good time for South Dakota residents to raise hell over this bill and urge their elected officials to vote against it. Do it for the kids.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to James for the link)