This story was originally published by Fusion and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
The debate surrounding science education in America is at least as old as the 1925 Scopes “monkey trial,” in which a high school science teacher was criminally charged for teaching evolution in violation of Tennessee law. But bills percolating through state legislatures across the U.S. are giving the education fight a new flavor, by encompassing climate change denial and serving it up as academic freedom.
One prominent example, South Dakota’s Senate Bill 55, was voted down Wednesday, but others are on the docket in three states, with possibly more on the way. Advocates say the bills are designed to give teachers additional latitude to explain scientific theories. Opponents say they empower science denial, removing accountability from science education and eroding the foundation of public schools.
In bills making their way through statehouses in Indiana, Oklahoma, and Texas, and a potential measure in Iowa, making common cause with climate change denial is a way for advocates to encourage skepticism of evolution, said Glenn Branch, deputy director f... Read more