The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) reports A stealth antiscience bill in Indiana. There are two interesting items in that article.
First, we’ve been writing about a few different creationism-type bills expected from Dennis Kruse, who is chairman of the Senate education committee. The first was discussed in Discoveroids & Indiana’s 2013 Creationism Bill. Kruse said he intended to introduce one of those “academic freedom” bills based on the Academic Freedom Act promoted by the Discovery Institute, as he had done back in 2012.
But then, in Indiana Creationism: Plan B, we wrote that Kruse had changed his plans. Now he was going to introduce a bill that would allow students to challenge teachers on issues, forcing them to provide evidence to back up their lessons. A generation of kiddies would learn to blurt out “Oh yeah?” whenever a science teacher made a statement.
After that, in Dennis Kruse Again, we wrote that Kruse had another brilliant idea. Now he was going to introduce a bill that would allow schools to require saying the Lord’s Prayer.
Things have changed yet again. NCSE says that Kruse hasn’t filed his “student’s can challenge teachers” bill, and the deadline for filing bills in the Senate has passed. They’re right, he hasn’t filed the first two bills he talked about, but he’s still making mischief. We looked at this list of bills sponsored or co-sponsored by Kruse. Here’s his school prayer bill, Senate Bill 0023. You can track its progress at that link.
He has also introduced Senate Bill 0193, which provides that “the state board of education may not adopt as standards for the state any common core educational standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative.” That looks interesting.
But most of NCSE’s post is about a new creationism bill from a different legislator, House Republican Jeff Thompson. To our surprise, his page at the legislature’s website says that he’s a “Retired Chemistry, Physics and Math Teacher, Danville Community High School.” He has introduced House Bill 1283. NCSE says:
Although evolution is not specifically mentioned in the bill, the previous legislation introduced by its sponsor, Jeff Thompson (R-District 28), and the similarity of its language to the language of previous antievolution bills together make it amply clear that the teaching of evolution in the state’s public schools is a main target.
Yes, it’s definitely an “academic freedom” bill, but although it’s somewhat watered down, it still has all the Discoveroid code words that we’ve seen in similar legislation in other states. Here are a few excerpts from it, with bold font added for emphasis:
As NCSE notes, it doesn’t specifically mention evolution, but it’s nevertheless a classic creationism bill. We’ve previously commented on such bills — see Curmudgeon’s Guide to “Academic Freedom” Laws.
Here’s a link where you can track the progress of House Bill 1283. It’s been referred to Committee on Education, and nothing has happened yet.
The Indiana legislature is scheduled to adjourn on 29 April.
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