Mo. measure addresses academic freedom, evolution
Public elementary and secondary school teachers in Missouri would have greater academic freedom to teach about scientific evidence regarding evolution, if a bill recently introduced in the Missouri House becomes law.
Republican state Rep. Andrew Koenig and several other co-sponsors introduced H.B. 195, which would allow educators to teach and guide students in thinking critically about scientific theories and discuss “differences of opinion about controversial issues, including biological and chemical evolution.”
One part of the measure provides that school officials shall not prohibit public school teachers “from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of biological or chemical evolution whatsoever whenever these subjects are taught within the course curriculum schedule.”
Another section states that the bill is not a guise for teaching creationism or religious doctrine. It reads: “This section only protects the teaching of scientific information and this section shall not be construed to promote any religious or nonreligious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs or nonbeliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.”
John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, says he supports the measure.
“Any bill that gives teachers more academic freedom I support,” he said. “The key is the children. If there are any problems or questions with a scientific theory, shouldn’t those issues or flaws be discussed or exposed? As long as the teacher doesn’t use this to teach religion, what are we afraid of?”