Earlier this week, CBLDF informed readers about one of three bills in Florida aimed at destroying the tyrannical rule of facts in science class. Now, the Washington Post republished an Associated Press article examining similar legislation in states all across the country. It is not simply enough to stand by and collectively shake our heads. If you live in one of these states, you must stand up and tell your representatives that you do not wish them to destroy the educational standards for generations to come.
Education stands as the greatest tool to ensure our democracy. The better we prepare each generation of students to succeed in the world, the more likely they will be the ones to vote intelligently, make groundbreaking scientific discoveries that save lives, grasp the weight of their civic responsibility and positively alter the role of government. With the right preparation, their potential is endless. With the wrong preparation, we further the worst of our current situation for decades to come.
- Rep. Mark Finchem proposed HB2002 which would prohibit teachers from advocating for “any side of a controversial issue.” While Finchem didn’t outline any specific controversial issues, language like this has been used to target evolution and climate change in other legislation around the country.
- Rep. John Piscopo authored HB5995, which strives to remove climate change from the Next Generation Science standards. He is a member of the Heartland Institute, an organization that denies the scientific consensus on climate change. He also introduced a bill to remove the science standards altogether.
- HB 855, sponsored by Rep. Walter Byran “Mike” Hill, would require “objective, balanced” viewpoints taught on “controversial issues.” Again, this is meant to combat climate change and evolution being taught in science classes without (unscientific) counterpoints being given provided to students – muddying the understanding of existing scientific research and thought.
- Introduced by Sen. Dennis Baxley, SB 1454 is a senate version of the above bill requiring “balanced and noninflammatory viewpoints on controversial issues.” If these bills are passed, science textbooks may be forced to refer to proven scientific fact as questionable.
- Two separate bills have been introduced in Iowa (House File 61 & House File 428) by Rep. Skyler Wheeler and Rep. Sandy Salmon, respectively. Each bill is aimed at the removal of Next Generation Science Standards because, as Salmon has stated, “woven throughout the standards are controversial topics of climate change, man’s negative impact on the environment, and evolution as a scientific fact.” Thank goodness you don’t need to pass AP Science to be elected to Iowa’s state legislature.
- HB1113 would effectively remove climate change from classrooms, crying political indoctrination. The state legislature in South Dakota has effectively tabled this issue until the 41st day of the session. Seeing as there are only 40 days in the session, theoretically, this bill is dead. But they didn’t vote it out, so keep your eyes peeled for its return at another moment in time, or under the guise of a new bill.
- HJ 684 directly claims to be attempting to prevent “political or ideological indoctrination” of students. If would prohibit the teaching of any issue that is part of a political party platform at any level. The problem with that is that climate change, of which there is a scientific consensus, is in the national (and often state and local) platforms. This is not a bill to remove partisan teaching, it is a bill designed to make students more stupid.
Please reach out to your local state legislature and let them know this isn’t acceptable. To find out more information about reaching your own representatives, click on your state at the following website: https://www.congress.gov/state-legislature-websites. Please speak up and be heard! Too often local politics is ignored in favor of national, and critical things are very often decided on the state level. If you want your children, your nieces and nephews, your grandchildren, and your friends’ children to receive the best education available to them – you must speak up!
For those that wonder what this has to do with comics, let’s just say – if this is what these people want to do with science, imagine how if they are given their way, how they’ll handle art too often viewed as “low-value” in the classrooms? We must stop this trend in legislation before it goes any further.