Evolution complaint in Palm Beach County … and other news

All of you really need to keep an eye on what’s going on in within your home turf. Sometimes it’s very difficult to learn what’s happening from afar, so it’s incredibly important for you to monitor your local news. As I reported earlier, an Associated Press article revealed that there were a couple of challenges to evolution and climate change filed with local school boards. But the AP apparently missed one. Palm Beach County has been targeted: New law makes it legal to challenge assigned reading in schools.

Palm Beach County’s School District says no novel has been challenged this year, but there is currently one challenge of a science textbook that deals with evolution.
That process is still playing out.

We’re in the process of learning more about that complaint. If you live in or near Palm Beach County, we could use your help.

Also of note is a writer for Florida Politics who has a few keen observations about the new instructional materials law: Joe Henderson: Textbook challenge gives school boards more headaches.

The law opened the door widely for self-appointed watchdogs to quibble over the wording of every single line in a textbook, particularly those used to teach history and science — which, I’m guessing, was the idea all along.

School boards have dealt effectively with those things over the ages. What the Legislature did, though, was legitimize anyone pushing an agenda, no matter how extreme.

Yes, boards have the final say on any recommendation from the “unbiased hearing officer” — but how long until someone in the Legislature decides that isn’t working and tries to require boards to adopt what the officer says?

Then, of course, lawmakers would eventually want to dictate who is hired as that “unbiased hearing officer.”

When that happens, you can hear the battle cry: Let the textbook scrubbing begin.

And the National Center for Science Education is keeping tabs on the goings-on here: The latest from Florida.

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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