As American science students struggle to compete with the global competition, Oklahoma is moving forward with a law that could ban Biology teachers from failing students who argue that humans co-existed with dinosaurs. The state legislator’s committee in charge of education standards has approved a law that would forbid teachers from penalizing students who argue against widely accepted scientific theories, such as evolution and climate change.
“I proposed this bill because there are teachers and students who may be afraid of going against what they see in their textbooks,” said Republican State Representative Gus Blackwell who sponsored the Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act, which can now go the state legislature for a vote.
Students are not exempt from being tested on textbook material, “but no student in any public school or institution shall be penalized in any way because the student may subscribe to a particular position on scientific theories,” reads the bill [PDF].
Not everyone is ecstatic about the bill, however. “An extremely high percentage of scientists will tell you that evolution doesn’t have scientific weaknesses,” said education director of the National Center for Science Education, Eric Meikle, to Mother Jones. “If every teacher, parent, and school board can decide what to teach on their own, you’re going to have chaos. You can’t deluge kids with every theory that’s ever been considered since the beginning of time.”