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Oklahoma Still Hates Science

Last February, I posted about an absurd anti-science bill filed by Oklahoma State GOP Senator, Josh Brecheen.

According to the National Center for Science Education, he’s at it again:

Two antiscience bills, Senate Bill 758 and House Bill 1674, have been prefiled in the Oklahoma legislature.

First, Senate Bill 758 (document), styled the Oklahoma Science Education Act, would, if enacted, require state and local educational authorities to “assist teachers to find more effective ways to present the science curriculum where it addresses scientific controversies” and permit teachers to “help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories pertinent to the course being taught.” Unusually but not uniquely, no scientific topics are specifically identified as controversial, but the fact that the sole sponsor of SB 758 is Josh Brecheen (R-District 6), who introduced specifically antievolution legislation in the two previous legislative sessions, is telling.

He’s certainly getting more crafty with wording. The objectives mentioned above seem harmless. The problem, as Dr. Broughton (Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education) notes:

Teachers have been encouraging, “students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues” for decades. Nothing in the bill explains why we need a state law specifying what teachers already (are required to) do.

In essence, Brecheen is attempting to make a law that forces equal coverage of one-sided topics. As I said last year, his goal would make as much sense as forcing educators to teach opposing views on smoking cessation, AIDS, and racism. This pervasive drive for false-equivalence will confuse students and teachers and will only serve to harm our children’s quality of education.

Sadly, the bill has been referred to The Oklahoma Senate Education committee. You might find it useful to contact them and express that our state has more pressing issues than trying to backdoor religious legislation. Especially when Oklahoma routinely ranks in the bottom ten for science education.

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