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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