Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Haslam Lets ‘Monkey Bill’ Stand

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has allowed SB893 to stand, effectively making it law. As he is quoted in the Nature News story:
I do not believe that this legislation changes the scientific standards that are taught in our schools or the curriculum that is used by our teachers,” Haslam said in a written statement explaining his equivocal stance. “However, I also don’t believe that it accomplishes anything that isn’t already acceptable in our schools.”
The Nature News story points out a way in which the bill differs from the one in Louisiana.
But in Tennessee, unlike in Louisiana, the law requires teachers to stay within the state science curriculum. So the ramifications of the law will depend on how local teachers and school boards interpret that requirement. “There are school districts in Tennessee that don’t pay any attention to the state curriculum,” says Timothy Gaudin, a biologist at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. “So there are some people who are going to do what they want to do no matter what.”
This gives them the cover to do so. I suppose the question I have for Governor Haslam is that if it is not going to accomplish anything, and you don't want to sign it, then why not veto it? This just smacks of political pandering, especially in light of the scientific opposition to the bill. Not a bright and shining moment for Tennessee.

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