Somehow we here in Florida made it through the past few months without being too embarrassed by the anti-science nuts in our state government. A handful of worrying bills that would have impacted science education died at the end of the annual legislative session (see here and here). Proposals made by the Constitution Revision Commission that would have opened the floodgates to even more public money flowing to private religious schools that blatantly teach creationism also lost steam (see here). And many school districts approved new science textbooks lately without too much controversy (see here).
With all of that good news to bask in, it’s tempting to sit back and relax. But the creationists and climate change deniers certainly aren’t taking time off, so we can’t either.
The folks behind most of the above trouble making, the Florida Citizens’ Alliance, have been very busy lately. They partnered with an organization out of Texas called Truth in Textbooks to offer training to any of the Alliance’s supporters in how to review textbooks — from their unique viewpoint, of course.
Florida Citizens’ Alliance is teaming up with Truth in Textbooks (TNT) to train everyday folks like you and me to critically, without bias, assess the instructional materials used in our classrooms. Their focus is on social studies and religious indoctrination, but the TNT process and template will work for English language arts, math, and science as well.
Their latest training kicked off this month. Even though they focus heavily on social studies, keep in mind that we here at Florida Citizens for Science first learned of the Alliance’s creationism several years ago from their negative reviews of world history books that mention the evolution of man. And their network is growing as The Alliance and Truth in Textbooks recently welcomed The Report Card to their team. “’The Report Card’ founded by Bill Korach in 2011 has the express goal of ‘restoring truth to education’.”
If you visit the deep rabbit holes of these organizations’ websites and social media, it’s tempting to write them off as fringe nutcases. But the reality is that they’ve gotten very good at making a name for themselves and making friends in local and state government. They must be taken seriously.
With that in mind, we here at Florida Citizens for Science have joined a network of like-minded folks, too. Florida Education Defenders consists of:
National Coalition Against Censorship
Florida Citizens for Science
Florida Conference of Historians
Florida Education Association
American Library Association
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
National Council of Teachers of English
Earlier in this post I mentioned that many school boards have approved the purchase of new science textbooks without much fuss. However, state law mandates that once a school board approves textbooks, citizens then have 30 days to register a formal complaint. So, we’re not out of the woods yet, especially with the Alliance and their partners still fired up.
Now is not the time to rest. Now is the time to defend.