A Massachusetts newspaper, the Bedford Minuteman, has an article mentioning the academic freedom science education laws in Tennessee (2012) and Louisiana (2008). Unfortunately, it appears there is still widespread misunderstanding about these pieces of legislation.The reporter, Kathleen Cordeiro, interviewed Abby Hafer, a scientist who teaches at Curry College. We learn that Dr. Hafer helped to draft a new bill — the state’s House Bill 471. This legislation was crafted specifically as the antithesis of academic freedom laws. Hafer wanted it to be “model legislation for protecting science education.” The bill provides that “standards for the subject of science shall include only peer-reviewed and age-appropriate subject matter.” A Great Deal of MisinformationCordeiro writes:Hafer is not aware of any Bay State public school teaching students intelligent design instead of evolution, or denying climate change in classroom lessons. Her concern is not that this has already happened in Massachusetts. Her concern is that there is nothing to prevent it…. Two states have passed laws to include non-scientific materials into public school curricula — Louisiana in 2008 and Tennessee in 2012. “Those things didn’t happen in a vacuum,” said Hafer, pointing to organizations that promote science denial and help legislators draft model legislation.“So I decided there should be model legislation for protecting science education,” she said. Hafer believes Massachusetts is the best first place to have model legislation. “I want to protect students and I want to protect teachers.” [Emphasis added.]In those few paragraphs, there’s a great deal of misinformation about academic freedom laws, how they harm science teaching and imperil students and educators. I’d like to explain what such legislation actually does. As I’ve noted previously, academic freedom laws are very limited in their scope. They do not authorize bringing in material on intelligent design, nor make teachers teach anything differently. They simply provide freedom for teachers and students to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of controversial scientific issues in the curriculum in an objective fashion. They protect teachers and students who want to engage in scientific inquiry, which means examining evidence critically. If science is defined as investigating nature objectively, then they represent the opposite of “science denial.” Easy to DenigrateIt’s easy to denigrate academic freedom bills in the popular media, especially where there’s no link to the actual laws for readers to check them out and see what they actually say. But if one looks at the text of these laws, their intent is clear: see the Tennessee law here, for instance, which “only protects the teaching of scientific information.”Here’s what the co-author of HB 471, Representative Ken Gordon, told Kathleen Cordeiro: It is critical that our state’s students are exposed to reliable, fact-based science in a public school science class. Agreed! He goes on:There is no room for alternative explanations for evolution in our public schools. There is no place for climate change deniers.All I can say is, that’s a lot of polarizing labeling instead of digging into the facts about academic freedom legislation. What I find funny is that the actual text of HB 471 is something I’d agree with. It simply stands behind solid science. Peer-reviewed, age-appropriate science? Bring it on!Photo: Massachusetts State House, by Domenico Bettinelli, via Flickr (cropped). Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man Sarah ChaffeeNow a teacher, Sarah Chaffee served as Program Officer in Education and Public Policy at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. She earned her B.A. in Government. During college she interned at Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler’s office and for Prison Fellowship Ministries. Before coming to Discovery, she worked for a private land trust with holdings in the Southwest. Share Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis Education “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to All Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos Tags”science denial”Abby Haferacademic freedomBedford MinutemanCurry CollegeevolutionHouse Bill 471intelligent designKathleen CordeiroKen GordonLouisianaMassachusettsscience educationstudentsteachersTennessee,Trending Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Recommended Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Free Speech In Massachusetts, Spreading Myths About Academic Freedom LegislationSarah ChaffeeAugust 4, 2019, 6:25 AM
Job Description:The Office of Community Standards at the State University of NewYork College at Oneonta invites applications for the position ofHearing and Compliance Officer. This is a 10-month, full-timetemporary position, starting August 1st. The Hearing Officer isresponsible for assisting in the day-to-day operations of thestudent conduct and COVID compliance systems. The Officer will beinvolved in a variety of activities pertaining to the studentconduct and compliance processes. Additional Information:For other employment and regional opportunities, please visit ourwebsite at: https://suny.oneonta.edu/employment .Pursuant to Executive Order 161, no State entity, as defined by theExecutive Order, is permitted to ask, or mandate, in any form, thatan applicant for employment provide his or her currentcompensation, or any prior compensation history, until such time asthe applicant is extended a conditional offer of employment withcompensation. If such information has been requested from youbefore such time, please contact the Governor’s Office of EmployeeRelations at (518) 474-6988 or via email at [email protected] Oneonta values a diverse college community. Please visit ourwebsite on diversity at: https://suny.oneonta.edu/diversity . Moreover, theCollege is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. Women,persons of color, persons with disabilities, and protected veteransare encouraged to apply. Requirements:Required qualifications: master’s degree in higher educationadministration -OR- bachelor’s degree with significant experience;experience administering conduct hearings (assigning charges,hearing cases, writing decision rationale).Preferred: familiarity with Maxient Conduct Management system;skilled with Microsoft Office especially Teams and Excel; andexperience working with and serving diverse populations. The primary responsibility of the Office of Community Standards isto adjudicate violations of the Code of Student Conduct. Theconduct process is designed to be an educational one which fostersstudent learning, personal integrity, and ethical development, aswell as the promotion of a safe and healthy campus environment. Tolearn more about the College or the Office, please visit https://suny.oneonta.edu/ or https://suny.oneonta.edu/office-community-standards. About SUNY Oneonta:SUNY Oneonta is a public college in Central New York, enrollingabout 6,500 students in bachelor’s, master’s and graduatecertificate programs. Most of SUNY Oneonta’s main campus lieswithin the City of Oneonta, which is located in the northernfoothills of the Catskill Mountains, about a four-hour drive fromNew York City, Boston and Philadelphia. With a population just shyof 14,000, the City of Oneonta is the largest municipality in arural region dominated by agriculture and tourism.Known as an exemplary residential campus that values inclusion,service and sustainability, SUNY Oneonta is a nurturing communitywhere students grow intellectually, thrive socially and livepurposefully. Employees give SUNY Oneonta high marks for work/lifebalance and culture. The College’s indeed.com and glassdoor.comratings are 4.5 and 4.1, respectively.Beyond campus, many residents enjoy the natural beauty of theCatskills. Outdoor activities such as hiking, biking and runningare among the most popular. Several ski areas nearby typicallyoperate for seasons lasting over 100 days beginning in lateNovember or early December. During the summer, boating, swimmingand other water sports are popular on lakes throughout theregion. Maintain student compliance databases for COVID compliancerelated to Daily Health Screening and Weekly Testing.Monitor automated administrative actions, such as ID carddeactivation.Communicate with individual students regarding their COVIDcompliance concerns and/or questions.Adjudicate cases for students repeatedly out ofcompliance.Liaison with Residence Life professional staff regardingin-hall COVID cases and compliance concerns or questions.Maintain open communication with IT and academic staff toaddress unique compliance concerns.Evaluate student requests for testing exemptions; placeexemptions in database when approved.Assist with investigation and adjudication of reported Code ofConduct violations. Application Instructions:To apply online go to: http://oneonta.interviewexchange.com/candapply.jsp?JOBID=130288Please upload a letter of interest and resume. Contact informationfor three professional references is required.