Legislators in more than a dozen states this year introduced bills that would target science education, including the teaching of evolution, says the National Center for Science Education (NCSE).
Glenn Branch, NCSE’s deputy director, dissected the bills for Scientific American recently. Branch singled out bills in Indiana, Montana, South Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Connecticut, Florida and Iowa and other states that would have undermined teaching about evolution, climate change or both.
A favorite tactic of anti-science forces, Branch said, is to target supposedly “controversial” subjects in science classrooms. As Branch noted, evolution is not considered controversial by mainstream scientists. Labeling it as such is intended to put doubts in the minds of students.
Branch noted that the bill are often introduced “in the service of gratifying ideologies – usually religious in the case of evolution; usually political in the case of climate change – to which [the legislators], and their constituencies, subscribe.”
Observed Branch, “If public school science educators are not able to teach evolution and climate change honestly, accurately and confidently, then the scientific literacy of millions of students in America’s public schools is going to be in jeopardy. The lawmakers of the 50 state legislatures are responsible for supporting these teachers properly. It is up to us, their constituents, to ensure that they do – and to reproach them when they introduce their half-baked ideas to the contrary.”