Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Creationist Legislator Proposes Ironically Named “Truth in Education” Bill

After Senator Dennis Kruse, a Republican (like I had to point that out) legislator from Indiana, failed to get a creationism forced on schools; he is now taking a different approach. Kruse is proposing the ironically named “Truth in Teaching” bill. What is the point of the bill? 
“If a student thinks something isn’t true, then they can question the teacher and the teacher would have to come up with some kind of research to support that what they are teaching is true or not true.” 
Or as most of us know it: teaching.

Democratic Senator Tim Skinner correctly states that the bill is unnecessary (another mark against the myth of conservative small government): 
“If Senator Kruse had education experience he would know that students across the country are already doing that every day in the public school classroom,” Skinner says. “They question everything, and I think a teacher who’s actually doing their job will answer those questions.” 
All humor aside, depending on the wording and the ‘consequences’ of the bill this may or may not be benign. Nate Schnellenberger of the Indiana State Teachers Association sees it as a “burden” on teachers that will take time away from “actual instruction” using the moon landing denialism as an example stating “How would a teacher prove that they did? I just think that it’s not workable.”  That’s a fair point. A teacher that has to spend an inordinate amount of time on idiotic conspiracy theories will not actually be teaching. The flip side of that is these instances can used to teach critical thought. It all depends on the teacher.

To that end, one of my main concerns is that this bill can be used as a means to protect the type of “science teachers” that are inclined to teach creationism.

Luckily this bill will probably die as even fellow Republicans see it as a distraction. Fellow Republican Rep. Bob Behning, chairman of the House Education Committee, said “I don’t want to do something that’s going to burden schools to the point where they’re going to spend their lives trying to validate what is assumed to be true.”

Unfortunately similar bills have already passed in Tennessee
“People cited violation of the First Amendment when a New Jersey schoolteacher asserted that evolution and the Big Bang are not scientific and that Noah's ark carried dinosaurs. This case is not about the need to separate church and state; it's about the need to separate ignorant, scientifically illiterate people from the ranks of teachers.” Neil deGrasse Tyson  (emphasis added)

Story originally seen via Religion Clause