Creationist Bill in Maine for 2019

We rarely encounter creationism news from the state of Maine. Back in 2008 there was a brief problem at one school board, but it faded away — see Maine Creationism Issue Off School Board Agenda. And we wrote a few times about that state’s Governor, Paul LePage — see, e.g.: More Creationist Chaos in Maine.

But since we’ve been blogging, there hasn’t been any creationist legislation proposed in that state — until now. Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) recently posted this news item: Maine latest state with “controversial issues” measure. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

A bill in the Maine legislature would require a code of ethics for public school teachers — with a provision that could adversely affect science education. Maine’s is the fifth measure of its type in 2019, joining South Dakota’s House Concurrent Resolution 1002 and House Bill 1113, Virginia’s House Joint Resolution 684, and Arizona’s House Bill 2002.

It’s like an epidemic! We wrote about the most recent of those a few days ago — see Strange Creationist Bill in South Dakota. NCSE says:

Legislative Document 589 (House Paper 433), prefiled in the Maine House of Representatives, would, if enacted, require the state board of education to adopt a code of ethics to prevent public school teachers in the state from engaging in what it describes as “political or ideological indoctrination.”

Aha — it’s the same substance as the bill in South Dakota, but it would require a code of ethics. It isn’t one of those non-binding resolutions sponsored by the Discoveroids that we wrote about in The Discoveroids’ Latest Campaign.

The bill is too long to copy here, but the legislature provides this summary, to which we’ve added some bold font:

This resolve directs the State Board of Education to adopt major substantive rules prohibiting teachers in public schools from engaging in political, religious or ideological advocacy in the classroom or from introducing any controversial subject matter that is not germane to the topic of the course being taught, with penalties for violations up to and including termination of the teacher. This resolve requires the State Board of Education to provide written notice of the rules to all affected teachers, parents and students and for teachers to receive annually at least 3 hours of continuing teacher education to instruct the teachers on the rules. Finally, this resolve requests professional teacher organizations and unions to voluntarily adopt an educator’s code of ethics and professional responsibility that incorporates the rules and that specifically prohibits teachers in kindergarten to grade 12 instruction from using the classroom for political indoctrination.

When has a public school lesson about evolution not been considered “engaging in political, religious or ideological advocacy” by one political group or another? We see nothing but trouble resulting from legislation like this.

The Maine legislature convened on 02 January, and won’t adjourn until 19 June. Here’s a link for following the progress of House Paper 433. As of today, it’s just sitting in committee, with nothing scheduled. We’ll be keeping you advised, so stay tuned to this blog.

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7 responses to “Creationist Bill in Maine for 2019

  1. “for teachers to receive annually at least 3 hours of continuing teacher education to instruct the teachers on the rules”; lots of fun here, starting with instructing the instructors (if they can find any willing to participate in this farce. Remember how the science teachers defied the School Board at Dover, forcing an administrator to read out the Board’s statement)

  2. Legislative Document 589 (House Paper 433), prefiled in the Maine House of Representatives, would, if enacted, require the state board of education to adopt a code of ethics to prevent public school teachers in the state from engaging in what it describes as “political or ideological indoctrination.”

    Lots of fun defining what qualifies as ‘indoctrination.” And I notice the bill doesn’t include a ban on religious propaganda. (Sideline here; the word was introduced by the Catholic Church as a benign
    term for the spreading of its own doctrines.)

    If ever a bill seemed doomed to be struck down by the courts as unconstitutional, this would be it.

  3. No mere “epidemic”, this is a well-orchestrated, well-funded effort; q.v. “Project Blitz”

  4. @Paul
    So just who will play the role of instructor to instruct the instructors is the problem. Oh, of course the DI can always provide qualified, unbiased people to fill this position.

  5. Michael Fugate

    https://cpcfoundation.com/first-freedom-coalition-project-blitz/

    This about destroying public education – piece by piece. Social conservative teachers have been recruited to campaign against unions because unions realize that education must be inclusive. Private and religious schools lust after public funds, but don’t want to offer education to everyone – there’s the rub. If they win, education really will become indoctrination and academic freedom will be gone. Without unions, teacher pay and benefits will plummet. It is an epic battle and the rich who no longer pay taxes are winning.

  6. @David K
    Good point.

  7. The First Amendment should protect us from bills like this actually reaching implementation.

    However, there is no protection but the ballot box from having evangelicals gaining enough bodies in the House, Senate, and state legislatures to amend the Constitution to recognize Christianity as the official religion of the United States of America and rescind or modify the First Amendment.

    Right now, it seems that most evangelicals who are running for office are doing so as Republicans. Democrats, for the most part, seem more interested in protecting all of our First Amendment rights, but having grown up in Chicago, I realize that not all Democrats are perfect angels. To protect ourselves from the extremes of either party, we in the US must convince our legislators that we need to do all we can to end gerrymandering, and make every effort to make each Congressional and state legislative district as balanced as possible. Our democracy and personal freedoms depend on it.

    And as for choosing the best candidate to run for president in each or any party, rather than candidates that appeal primarily to the extremes of their respective parties, each state should have truly open primaries. Pipe dream.