Two bills encouraging the teaching of alternative ideas in evolution and climate change will not be going forward in Colorado and Montana, though others still exist in Indiana, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Missouri.House Bill 13-1089 (PDF), which would have encouraged teachers in Colorado to misrepresent the scientific status of evolution and climate change, was rejected by a 7-6 vote in the House Committee on Education on February 4, 2013. The committee also voted 7-6 to postpone further consideration of the bill indefinitely. Otherwise a typical instance of the “academic freedom” strategy for undermining the integrity of science education, HB 13-1089 was unusual in targeting higher education as well as K-12 education. The primary sponsors of HB 13-1089 were Stephen Humphrey (R-District 48) in the House and Scott Renfroe (R-District 13) in the Senate — in Colorado, bills in either house of the legislature will have a sponsor in the other house. Among those testifying for the bill was a representative of the Discovery Institute, who claimed that his organization helped to draft the bill. Among those testifying against the bill were representatives of the Colorado Association of School Boards, the Colorado Education Association, and the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education.
Montana’s House Bill 183, which purports to “encourage critical thinking regarding controversial scientific theories” such as “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, random mutation, natural selection, DNA, and fossil discoveries,” was tabled in the House Education Committee on February 5, 2013. As NCSE previously reported, the bill was originally intended to “[r]equire public schools to teach intelligent design along with evolution,” which would presumably conflict with the decision in the 2005 case Kitzmiller v. Dover, in which requiring the public schools to teach “intelligent design” was held to be unconstitutional.
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