In Massachusetts, Spreading Myths About Academic Freedom Legislation

first_imgA 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 BioLogoscenter_img 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 last_img read more

Boxer Herreligaen: Crisis in KIF Kolding, but “they can and they will”

first_img1 Comment Ortega leaves KIF Kolding after 18 months! 6.Skjern4211104:955 Leave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published.Comment Name Email Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. 4.GOG4211107:865 11.Ribe-Esbjerg410390:972 Pingback: » Boxer Herreligaen: Crisis in KIF Kolding, but “they can and they will” ShareTweetShareShareEmailCommentsSurprisingly convincing defeat in Kristianstad at the start of the VELUX EHF Champions League was just a start of the horrible week for the Danish champions KIF Kolding Kobenhavn. Last Monday, the best Danish team lost once again in away match, this time against Midtjyland – 25:24. The team of Henrik Kronborg is now on position 9 in the domestic Championship, while not too many EHF CL players and coaches believe that Danes can avoid the last two spots in the group of the VELUX EHF CL…STANDINGS: 10.Aalborg4202102:974 13.Nordsjaelland410386:992 8.Midtjylland4202109:1054 12.Mors410395:1072 7.Skanderborg420294:954 New era in Kolding with Antonio Carlos Ortega: Trophies in Denmark, step further in CL 14.Skive400480:1110 1 Comment 1.Bjerringbro/Silkeborg4310112:937 2.Arhus4301103:986 Recommended for you Danish Play-off semi-finals start on May 18 ShareTweetShareShareEmail Related Items:kif kolding kobenhavn, Velux EHF CL 5.Sonderjyske4211100:975 9.Kolding420293:934 3.Holstebro4301111:1136last_img read more