This isn’t specifically about creationism, but we suspect that New Hampshire’s new law has no other purpose. We learned about it at the website of radio station 89.3 KPCC-FM in Los Angeles, affiliated with Southern California Public Radio: New Hampshire parents get to nix school curriculum they find objectionable. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
A new law recently passed in New Hampshire gives parents the right to file an objection to any course material they find offensive at their child’s public school, and as a result, the school district has to devise an alternative acceptable to the parent. No other state in the nation gives parents this much control over curriculum and the implications have some experts worried.
How did we miss something like that while it was working its way through the legislature? Here’s more:
The new law does not require the parent to justify the reason for the objection, only to state it.
That’s nice. Here’s the rest of the news story:
If a parent believes in intelligent design or creationism, should they be able to prevent their child from learning about evolution? Will the school have to provide coursework that validates its beliefs even if those beliefs are not supported by facts and accepted scientific principles? Will this kind of choice perpetuate stereotypes, or even racism? What if a parent doesn’t want their child to learn about the Holocaust because they don’t believe it happened?
It appears that the radio station had a panel discussion about the bill, but we don’t see any link to a recording. As we said, we suspect this thing is aimed at evolution, and the radio station certainly thinks that’s a possibility.
So we went searching at the website of the New Hampshire legislature. Here’s the text of the new law — it’s HB 542-FN – FINAL VERSION. It adds a new paragraph to the law that lists the duties of the State Board of Education, and it takes effect on 01 January 2012. Got that? It’s already in effect. Here’s what the State Board of Education must do:
What “objectionable material” do you think they have in mind? To learn more, we continued searching the legislature’s website to see what else we could find about this law. This page, Docket of HB542, informs us that the thing was vetoed by the governor on 13 July 2011 and his veto was overridden.
The governor’s veto message is here: Veto Message Regarding HB 542. We’ll spare you the effort of scrolling around to find it. It says, with our bold font added for emphasis:
Did you notice that the Governor’s message used the word “genesis”? That was no accident.
The Docket Page also informs us that the veto was at first sustained, and then, on reconsideration, the veto was overridden on 30 November 2011 (or maybe on 04 January 2012). So the bill became effective on the first of this year.
According to the veto message, “Current law already allows for parents to remove their children from classrooms for particular lessons on health or sex education.” What else was the legislature thinking about — geometry? In our humble opinion, although there’s no reference to it, this law is aimed directly at the teaching of evolution. What’s going on in New Hampshire?
Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.