Strange Creationist Bill in South Dakota

Addendum of 22 Feb 2019: According to NCSE, this one has been withdrawn. See “Controversial issues” resolution in South Dakota withdrawn, which says: “House Concurrent Resolution 1002, which would have urged the adoption of a code of ethics for public school teachers with a provision that could have adversely affected science education, was withdrawn from consideration by its chief sponsor on February 19, 2019.”

Something weird is gong on out there. In the wacky world of creationist legislation, we’re all familiar with the typical imbecile who gets elected to the state legislature and starts introducing bills to authorize the teaching of Adam & Eve in science class. And we’ve also seen the idiots who think they’re being clever by introducing bills based on the Discoveroids’ model act — see Curmudgeon’s Guide to “Academic Freedom” Laws.

But now there’s some new form of madness going around, and we haven’t yet identified the source (but see the end of this post). The first time we encountered it was almost a month ago when we wrote Strange Creationist Bill in Arizona. Now the disease is starting to spread.

Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) just posted this news item: “Controversial issues” resolution in South Dakota, written by Glenn Branch. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

A resolution in the South Dakota legislature would urge the adoption of a code of ethics for public school teachers — with a provision that could adversely affect science education.

Why are they diddling around with a resolution? They should just introduce a bill. Anyway, NCSE says:

House Concurrent Resolution 1002 (PDF), filed on January 25, 2019, by fifteen legislators (all Republicans) and referred to the House Education Committee, is aimed primarily at preventing what it describes as “political or ideological indoctrination.” But a provision of the proposed code would prohibit teachers from advocating “for any issue that is part of a political party platform at the national, state, or local level.”

It does a lot more than that. The resolution urges local school boards to establish a code of ethics providing that “no public or elementary or secondary school teacher, regardless of continuing contract status, be permitted during class time or while otherwise operating within the scope of employment as a teacher to do the following:”

(1) Endorse, support, or oppose any candidate or nominee for public office or any local, state, or federal official, regardless of whether the official is elected or appointed;

(2) Endorse, support, or oppose any local, state, or federal legislation or regulation, regardless of whether the legislation or regulation is pending, proposed, or enacted; [That includes existing laws against murder.]

(3) Endorse, support, or oppose any local, state, or federal court case or judicial action, regardless of whether the court case or judicial action is pending, proposed, or decided; [That includes the decision in the Scopes trial]

(4) Endorse, support, or oppose any pending, proposed, or final executive action by any local, state, or federal executive branch agency;

(5) Introduce into any class any controversial subject matter that is not germane to the topic of the course being taught;

(6) Endorse, support, or engage in any activities that hamper or impede the lawful access of military recruiters to school property;

(7) Endorse, support, or engage in any activities that hamper or impede the actions of a local, state, or federal law enforcement agency; or

{8) Advocate for any issue that is part of a political party platform at the national, state, or local level; [Hee hee!]

Think about number three in that list. A teacher couldn’t even mention, favorably or otherwise, any decision of the US Supreme Court. As for number 8, we’ve seen that before. NCSE says:

A similar resolution,House Joint Resolution 684, is under consideration in Virginia, and a similar bill, House Bill 2002, is under consideration in Arizona.

We wrote about the Arizona bill, but somehow we missed NCSE’s headline about the one in Virginia. Their article on that informs us:

According to the Phoenix New Times (January 3, 2019), the Arizona bill was modeled on a proposed code of ethics from “the Stop K-12 Indoctrination campaign, a project sponsored by the far-right, anti-Muslim David Horowitz Freedom Center … which intends for legislators to introduce the organization’s code of ethics in their respective statehouses.”

Aha — now we have the source of this stuff. Here’s that article in the New Times: Arizona Lawmaker Lifted Teacher Code of Ethics From Far-Right Group. We don’t need to add any commentary. The situation speaks for itself.

The South Dakota legislature convened on 08 January, and will adjourn on 29 March. Here’s a link for following the progress of the resolution: House Concurrent Resolution 1002. As of today, it’s just sitting in the House Education committee. We’ll be keeping you advised, so stay tuned to this blog.

Copyright © 2019. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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8 responses to “Strange Creationist Bill in South Dakota

  1. (5) Introduce into any class any controversial subject matter that is not germane to the topic of the course being taught.

    Doesn’t that then automatically reject ID, aka warmed over creationism?

  2. Michael Fugate

    Do they realize that it applies to the Republican Party Platform also?
    They couldn’t advocate for teaching the Bible, for one.

  3. Theodore Lawry

    Why don’t they just ban teaching anything besides math and physics? No, wait, the Flat Earth is “controversial” and becoming more so. I guess physics is out since it is very hard/impossible to reconcile Newtonian gravity with a flat earth. Flat earthers disbelieve in ALL space flight, not just the moon landings, so I guess ICBM’s must be fake too. That means nuclear war is “controversial” too, which would make the history of the Cold War well nigh incomprehensible. Plus we can all stop worrying about Kim Jong Un or Putin, it’s all fake news, people! They are right, better stick to the three R’s. Think of the taxpayer’s money that would be saved if schooling stopped at about the 6th grade. It would be okay for students to read for practice, but don’t let them read about anything that claims to be factual, stick to light fiction.

  4. Anything from David Horowitz is cringe worthy. If enacted, these regs would require thought police in every public school classroom. Talk about a job-creation law!

  5. Michael Fugate

    Search for “Professor Watchlist” to see what these people are up to.

  6. Holding The Line In Florida

    See New York Times article about why Apple can’t assemble iPhones in the United States. Apparently it is too hard for Americans. And we wonder why?

  7. I’m convinced this must be an attempt to keep the Democrats out the door at the next elections, as the Reps now can see the writing on the wall. I’m not sure though how they think this legislation will accomplish that, unless it’s speculation that all teachers are Democtrats.

  8. Michael Fugate

    Now we have a presidential endorsement!
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-boosts-bills-teach-favorite-book-bible-public-schools-220638186.html
    It’s his favorite book? But it doesn’t have pictures.