Day: <span>May 2, 2017</span>

Science denying is not academic freedom


The campaign to promote ideology in public school classrooms continues. The State Board of Education may have adopted more reasonable science curriculum standards, but state Rep. Valoree Swanson, a tea partier and homeschooling advocate from Spring, has a bill that would pretty much toss those standards out the window, along with academic credibility.

Swanson’s House Bill 1485 would prohibit the state board and other school administrators from prohibiting classroom presentations of the “strengths and weaknesses” of such subjects as evolution and climate change. This is the old, not-so-subtle way that ideologues try to cast doubt on real science.

As the Texas Freedom Network, the good guys in the continuing fight to keep ideology from undermining the public education system, explained: “This bill would give license to teachers who want to bring junk science arguments into the classroom, and school administrators would be powerless to stop them.”

Swanson may claim she is promoting “academic freedom,” but, in truth, she is trying to re-open a door to academic fraud.

Swanson may be a climate-change denier, someone who thinks we can wish away the potentially devastating short- and long-term effects of increasing temperatures, melting icecaps and rising sea levels by pretending they don’t exist. It’s easier for many politicians, some at the highest levels of government, to pretend these realities will go away than to take the politically difficult steps to address them.

That’s promoting an ideology that borders on stupidity, and we need to keep it out of our public school classrooms.