Missouri schools may have to "alert" parents when evolution is taughtS

In what may be the first of its kind, a proposed bill in Missouri would require that parents be notified when evolution is being taught to their children at school. They could then pull them from the class. Critics say the bill would "eviscerate" the teaching of biology.

The bill is being sponsored by State Rep. Rick Brattin (R), and it had its first public hearing on February 13th, 2014. Though many anti-evolution proposals are currently being considered across the United States, this one appears to be the only bill — and perhaps the first — that actually mandates parental notification when evolution is being taught to their children. The language of the bill reads like this:

Any school district or charter school which provides instruction relating to the theory of evolution by natural selection shall be required to have a policy on parental notification and a mechanism where a parent can choose to remove the student from any part of the district's or school's instruction on evolution. The policy shall require the school district or charter school to notify the parent or legal guardian of each student enrolled in the district of:

(1) The basic content of the district's or school's evolution instruction to be provided to the student; and

(2) The parent's right to remove the student from any part of the district's or school's evolution instruction.

Speaking to a local TV station two weeks ago, Brattin said, "Our schools basically mandate that we teach one side. It is an indoctrination because it is not objective approach."

So apparently teaching NSTA-approved curriculum is indoctrination. Riiiiight.

Talking Points Memo reports:

Glenn Branch, deputy director of the National Center for Science Education, told TPM that he was not aware of any state legislation that had included a provision that parents be notified if evolution was being taught at their local schools.

"It's an absolute infringement on people's beliefs," Brattin told the Kansas City Star of requiring schools to teach evolution. "What's being taught is just as much faith and, you know, just as much pulled out of the air as, say, any religion."

Unsurprisingly, the proposal has drawn criticism from those science teacher organizations.

The bill "would eviscerate the teaching of biology in Missouri," Branch said in a statement. "Evolution inextricably pervades the biological sciences; it therefore pervades, or at any rate ought to pervade, biology education at the K–12 level. There simply is no alternative to learning about it; there is no substitute activity."

"The value of a high school education in Missouri would be degraded," Branch said.

Image: JuliusKielaitis/Shutterstock.

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