Oklahoma lawmakers still have it out for science…
6:17 AM EST on January 26, 2016
The Derplahoman caucus of the Oklahoma Legislature is up to their old tricks!
Last week, Sally Kern and Josh Brecheen introduced a pair of anti-science bills in the Oklahoma legislature. The bills are very similar, and in their own special way, would give teachers the freedom to make up whatever shit they want when it comes to teaching science.
Here are the details of Kern's bill via The National Center for Science Education.
The bill would require state and local educational authorities to "assist teachers to find more effective ways to present the science curriculum where it addresses scientific controversies" and permit teachers 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," prohibiting administrators from interfering. As introduced, the bill specifically mentions "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning" as subjects which "some teachers may be unsure" about how to teach.
Hey, I got a better idea. How about we introduce a law that prevents unqualified asshats from teaching science in Oklahoma classrooms? Then we wouldn't have to worry about science teachers being "unsure" about how to teach standard topics like biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and all the other scientific things that are real.
Wait. I forgot our legislature continues to cut education funding and our state is facing a teacher shortage. I guess beggars can't be choosers.
Josh Brecheen's legislation is a virtual clone of Kern's bill. Actually, let's say it "evolved" from Kern's bill just to piss him off. It's called the "Oklahoma Science Education Act."
SB 1322 would require state and local educational authorities to "assist teachers to find effective ways to present the science curriculum as it addresses scientific controversies" and permit teachers to "help students understand, analyze, critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught"; it would prevent such authorities from "prohibit[ing] any teacher in a public school district in this state from helping students understand, analyze, critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught."
I love how he called this the "Oklahoma Science Education Act." What a great name, huh? This would be like naming a bill that bans certain books the "Oklahoma Library Act." Next week, expect Brecheen to introduce the "Oklahoma Nutritious Lunch Act," which will allow Funyuns to be served as a vegetable in Oklahoma schools.
Anyway, I guess my question for Kern and Brecheen is what "scientific controversies" are being taught in science classrooms? Evolution? The Big Bang? How airplanes fly? The science textbooks are pretty clear on those topics. There's no controversy... unless, of course, the presentation of facts that have been proven true tens of thousands of times via research and experimentation doesn't fit with your uncompromising religious beliefs and worldview. Then, I guess, science could be considered "controversial." But that's not science's fault. It's yours. Leave science education alone and go see a therapist.
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