Republican “academic freedom” unchanged – backwards, bigoted and anti-science

The first state bills of the year that would interfere with science education have appeared in Oklahoma. There, both the House and Senate have seen bills that would prevent school officials and administrators from disciplining any teachers who introduce spurious information to science classes.

These bills have a long history, dating back to around the time when teaching intelligent design was determined to be an unconstitutional imposition of religion. A recent study showed that you could take the text of the bills and build an evolutionary tree that traces their modifications over the last decade. The latest two fit the patterns nicely.

The Senate version of the bill is by State Senator Josh Brecheen, a Republican. It is the fifth year in a row he’s introduced a science education bill after announcing he wanted “every publicly funded Oklahoma school to teach the debate of creation vs. evolution…”

The one introduced in the Oklahoma House is more traditional. Billed as a “Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act” (because freedom!), it spells out a whole host of areas of science its author doesn’t like…

The bill…ensures educators can just teach whatever they want as long as they think it’s science, and nobody can discipline them. Students, meanwhile, cannot be penalized if they “subscribe to a particular position on scientific theories.”

As usual, if your particular flavor of fundamentalist hooey favors a Flat Earth or the sun revolving around the Earth it’s OK. Want to teach the kiddies scumbag theories about natural subservience for women or ethnic minorities? No harm, no foul.

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