NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2017/03/24
(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)
Dear friends of NCSE, Bad news from Oklahoma, where the antiscience bill passed the Senate, despite a spirited denunciation from a high school junior.
ANTISCIENCE BILL PROGRESSES IN OKLAHOMA Oklahoma's Senate Bill 393, which would empower science denial in the classroom, was passed on a 34-10 vote by the Senate on March 22, 2017, despite the protests of state and local organizations of scientists and science teachers. SB 393 would, if enacted, in effect allow science teachers with idiosyncratic opinions to teach anything they pleased, while preventing responsible educational authorities from intervening. No scientific topics are specifically identified as controversial, but the fact that the main sponsor of SB 393 is Josh Brecheen (R-District 6), who introduced similar legislation that directly targeted evolution in previous legislative sessions, is suggestive. The bill was previously passed, with slight amendments, by the Senate Education Committee on February 13, 2017. Now passed by the Senate, it is expected to move to the House Common Education Committee. For the text of Oklahoma's Senate Bill 393 as passed by the Senate (PDF), visit: http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/cf_pdf/2017-18%20FLR/SFLR/SB393%20SFLR.PDF And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Oklahoma, visit: https://ncse.com/news/oklahoma A NEW VOICE AGAINST OKLAHOMA'S ANTISCIENCE BILL A young activist in Oklahoma is making headlines for his opposition to the state's Senate Bill 393, which would empower science denial in the classroom. Ken Nguyen, a high school junior, was aghast to discover the so-called Oklahoma Science Education Act while serving for a page for his state representative. He told KFOR-TV (March 15, 2016), "In my opinion, it's a blank check for teachers to teach whatever they believe is relevant," which might include creationism or climate change denial. "I felt like I just couldn't sit back and watch [it] happen," Nguyen added. He recruited a number of his fellow students to join him in protesting SB 393 when it is considered on the floor of the senate. (As NCSE previously reported, the bill passed the Senate Education Committee on a 13-1 vote on February 27, 2017.) Also opposed to SB 393 are the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the National Council Against Censorship, the National Association of Biology Teachers, and the National Science Teachers Association, which in a March 7, 2017, alert (PDF) urged its Oklahoma members to recommend their state senators vote against the bill. SB 393 is not yet scheduled to be heard on the floor of the Senate; March 23, 2017, is the last day on which it could pass the Senate. For KFOR-TV's story, visit: http://kfor.com/2017/03/15/proposed-bill-would-allow-oklahoma-science-teachers-to-freely-share-their-opinions-on-theories/ For the various organizational statements against SB 393 (all PDF), visit: https://ncse.com/files/Oklahoma%20Letter%203.2017%20final.pdf https://ncse.com/files/SB393_LetterNCAC.pdf https://ncse.com/files/Reject%20OK%20SB393%20.pdf https://localtvkfor.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/natl-science-teachers-association.pdf And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Oklahoma, visit: https://ncse.com/news/oklahoma WHAT'S NEW AT NCSE'S BLOG? Have you been visiting NCSE's blog recently? If not, then you've missed: * Emily Schoerning presenting new data from NCSE's Science Booster Clubs: https://ncse.com/blog/2017/03/fresh-hot-data-0018492 For NCSE's blog, visit: http://ncse.com/blog Thanks for reading. And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- http://ncse.com -- where you can always find the latest news on evolution and climate education and threats to them. -- Sincerely, Glenn Branch Deputy Director National Center for Science Education, Inc. 1904 Franklin Street, Suite 600 Oakland CA 94612-2922 510-601-7203 fax 510-788-7971 firstname.lastname@example.org http://ncse.com Check out NCSE's blog: http://ncse.com/blog Read Reports of the NCSE on-line: http://reports.ncse.com Subscribe to NCSE's free weekly e-newsletter: http://groups.google.com/group/ncse-news NCSE is on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter: http://www.facebook.com/evolution.ncse http://www.youtube.com/NatCen4ScienceEd http://twitter.com/ncse NCSE's work is supported by its members. Join today! http://ncse.com/join