Yesterday we posted about Josh Brecheen’s Oklahoma Creationism Bill. You probably thought that was enough brain-death for any state legislature. But you’d be wrong.
Once more, our intrepid operative in that state, code-name “OO,” has informed us of another creationist bill that has been pre-filed in the Oklahoma legislature, this time in the state House of Representatives. The author of the latest bill is Sally Kern. This is Kern’s page at the legislature’s website. There we learn that she is married to Dr. Steve Kern, pastor of Olivet Baptist Church; and she has a sociology degree from the University of Texas. Oh, she’s a member of Eagle Forum, of which Phyllis Schlafly is president. Schlafly’s son, Andrew, founded Conservapedia — an on-line source of young-earth creationist material.
Kern’s bill is House Bill 1551. As with Brecheen’s Senate bill, that link does nothing but allow you to open or save the bill in Microsoft Office format. We’ll spare you the trouble and copy the operative portions of it here, adding a bit of bold font for emphasis:
BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA:
Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the “Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act”.
Section 2. A new section of law … reads as follows:
2A. The Oklahoma Legislature finds that an important purpose of science education is to inform students about scientific evidence and to help students develop critical thinking skills they need in order to become intelligent, productive, and scientifically informed citizens. The Legislature further finds that the teaching of some scientific subjects, such as biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning, can cause controversy, and that some teachers may be unsure of the expectations concerning how they should present information on such subjects.
2B. The State Board of Education, district boards of education, district superintendents and administrators, and public school principals and administrators shall endeavor to create an environment within public 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 controversial issues. Educational authorities in this state shall also endeavor to assist teachers to find more effective ways to present the science curriculum where it addresses scientific controversies. Toward this end, teachers shall be permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories pertinent to the course being taught.
2C. The State Board of Education, a district board of education, district superintendent or administrator, or public school principal or administrator shall not prohibit any teacher in a school district in this state from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories pertinent to the course being taught.
2D. Students may be evaluated based upon their understanding of course materials, but no student in any public school or institution shall be penalized in any way because the student may subscribe to a particular position on scientific theories.
2E. The provisions of the Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act shall only protect the teaching of scientific information, and shall not be construed to promote any religious or nonreligious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs or nonbeliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion. The intent of the provisions of the act is to create an environment in which both the teacher and students can openly and objectively discuss the facts and observations of science, and the assumptions that underlie their interpretation.
2F. By no later than the start of the 2011-2012 school year, the State Department Education shall notify all district superintendents of the provisions of the Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act. Each superintendent shall then disseminate to all employees within the district a copy of the provisions of the act.
Section 3. This act shall become effective July 1, 2011.
Section 4. It being immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety, an emergency is hereby declared to exist, by reason whereof this act shall take effect and be in full force from and after its passage and approval.
This is, more or less, just another anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism “Academic Freedom” law modeled after the Academic Freedom Act promoted by the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).
Also, it’s very similar to something Randy Brogdon introduced (without success) into the Oklahoma legislature in 2009. See Oklahoma Creationism: It’s Back!
We’re not surprised that there’s already a post about this with the text of the bill at the National Center for Science Education: A second antievolution bill in Oklahoma.
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