Thursday, April 17, 2008

"Academic Freedom Act" Moves Forward

The Independent Florida Alligator reports that another hurdle has been passed for the Academic Freedom Act to become law. The reporter, Joshua Frederickson, writes:

Last week, the Republican-controlled Florida legislature — which now boasts a prodigious 32 percent approval rating, the lowest ever — moved one step closer to pushing through an incredibly ignorant and shamelessly duplicitous piece of legislation that aims to inject religion into the Sunshine State’s public schools. The deceptively named “Academic Freedom Act” is now one House council’s approval away from a floor vote. The Senate is already set to vote on the measure.

The bill’s supporters claim that the legislation has nothing to do with religion and would simply permit teachers to present alternative theories (read: intelligent design) without fear of harassment or dismissal.

The article is somewhat vitriolic and at least one of the commentators takes him to task for this. Personally, I also get a bit weary of this "Republicans are evil" schtick. Interestingly, one of the comments below the article shows the dilemmas that exist within the kind of representative government in which we live:

Also, this is a not a church and state issue. Separation of church and state means that the clergymen and officials of religious sects are not allowed to govern our state, or to create a new church to govern our state, unlike what was done in Europe. However, we do elect people to represent our interests, and if most of our elected officials happen to uphold Christian or other religious values that would lead them to think that teaching Creationism is important, all they are doing is implementing and/or upholding what most of their own constituents would want. And guess what? If you ever get out of Gainesville these days, one of the most liberal parts of the state and in all the of the South, you would realize the the average Floridian and US citizen wants creationism to be taught in public schools. If you personally want it hexed from your child's classroom, what is so awesome about the United States is that you have the right to find a school that does not teach it, and if one doesn't exist, you can home school your child, or you can go start a school of your own.

As I have noted in the past, I understand the want on the part of parents to have their kids get a high quality education, but the kids also have to be taught the most up-to-date information, especially if it involves science. Learning the ins and outs of alchemy might be fun but it won't prepare you for 21st century scientific endeavors.

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