Thursday, May 22, 2008

Class Add-Ons

The Louisiana House Education Committee passed, with absolutely no reservations, a bill to allow science teachers to use supplementary class material when talking about global warming, evolution and other radioactive topics, according to the Times-Picayune. This is House Bill 733, that is being debated. There is a lot of heat surrounding this:

Opponents, including members of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said Sen. Ben Nevers' Science Education Act is part of a broader strategy by groups that have failed in previous legislative battles and court cases to legitimize teaching biology from a perspective that assumes an intelligent designer of life.

Nevers, D-Bogalusa, reacted angrily to those accusations: "There is no language in here submitted by some secret agent trying to teach religion in public schools."

The bill includes a clause stating that the intent is neither to promote nor discriminate against any religious doctrine. Nevers also accepted an amendment that would give the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education final say about what materials teachers could bring to the classroom.

I am of two minds about this. I tend to regard global warming a bit more skeptically than many and would welcome well-researched, authoritative material on the subject that might not tow the party line. On the other hand, I have yet to find any such material attacking evolution and would not be in favor of kids being taught conflicting information that appears to be on the same playing field but, actually is not.

The book State of Fear by Michael Crichton, aside from being a great page-turner, has an excellent post script warning about the politicizing of science. It should be a must read for any educator and researcher.

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