The bill is one of four that have been introduced so far in 2017 in state legislatures — the others are in Indiana, Oklahoma and Texas — that would allow science denial in the classroom. Since 2014, at least 60 “academic freedom” bills — which permit teachers to paint established science as controversial — have been filed in state legislatures all over the country. Louisiana passed one in 2008, and Tennessee did, too, in 2012 [Valerie Strauss, “An ‘Alternative Facts’ South Dakota Bill Sparks Fears for Science Education in the Trump Era,” Washington Post, 2017.02.05].
Strauss reports that SB 55 has drawn criticism from “the South Dakota Department of Education, the School Administrators of South Dakota, the National Science Teachers Association, the National Association of Biology Teachers, the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the National Center for Science Education, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the National Council Against Censorship, the Associated School Boards of South Dakota and the South Dakota Education Association.” The National Center for Science Education offers a useful collection of commentary from these organizations.
That’s a lot of people who, unlike Senator Monroe, have devoted their lives to science and education and thus probably know how to help children learn science without any guidance from a part-time legislator.
Tangentially Related: In other news of Republicans rejecting science, the President of the United States got up this morning and declared that “Any negative polls are fake….” You know, in all of my math classes and exercises, I have never seen a theorem that says any negative number is an invalid result. But like Senator Monroe, the President of the United States can’t figure out that the proper response to a disconnect between fact and opinion is to adjust opinion, not deny fact.