Senator Jeff Monroe (R-24/Pierre) throws the first belch of the radical right-wing caucus into the hopper with his fourth attempt to wedge his anti-science agenda into science classrooms.
Senate Bill 55, “An Act to protect the teaching of certain scientific information,” runs one innocuous sentence:
No teacher may be prohibited from helping students understand, analyze, critique, or review in an objective scientific manner the strengths and weaknesses of scientific information presented in courses being taught which are aligned with the content standards established pursuant to § 13-3-48.
Republican legislators are the last people we teachers need to turn to to protect open, honest, objective, analytical scientific discussions in our classroom. And that’s not really what the eleven Republican sponsors of SB 55 are after. Senator Monroe offered identical language in bills in 2016 and 2015. Each time, his intent has been the same as the two less artfully worded bills he offered in 2014 to promote the teaching of his personal religious beliefs in intelligent design and fetal personhood.
Senator Monroe’s bills on this topic have died every time, for good reason. Senator Monroe’s effort to sneak religion into science class was a bad idea in 2015. It was a bad idea in 2016. Senate Bill 55 is a bad idea this year… but it is probably just the first old nag out of the culture-warriors’ gate.
Reminder: Last year, Senator Monroe thought it was more important to protect teachers from fake prohibitions on teaching science than from the real economic hardship: he voted against both the new K-12 funding formula and the funding mechanism for the higher teacher salaries that formula provided. Ah, priorities.