It’s Going to be Ugly

As the dust settles from the mid-term elections, we’re starting to see what is in store for science education and education in general here in the Sunshine State. It’s going to be ugly.

In preparation for the next Florida legislative session, due to start March 5, 2019, House and Senate committees are taking shape. The first shot aimed at public education is who has been selected to chair the House education committee. Read a little about “Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, a Mount Dora Republican who has championed such issues as home schooling and tax credit scholarships, and has been an ally to conservative education groups and their concerns.” She was home-schooled, presumably having never sat in a public school classroom, and she is earning a degree from Liberty University online, an evangelical Christian university in Virginia. She also was active in TeenPact.

Can you see where this next state legislative session is headed?

Sen. Dennis Baxley easily won reelection. Baxley, “a Southern Baptist, said his faith is the foundation of his public service and proposed that ‘controversial theories’ such as evolution be taught in a ‘balanced’ manner.” Here is our analysis and history of that controversial theories bill. Do you think we’ll see that bill or something similar again?

Rep. Byron Donalds also won reelection. He “will continue to focus on education issues in Tallahassee after winning re-election in House District 80 Tuesday night.” He was a driving force behind bills that would change how schools’ instructional materials are selected and challenged. One of those bills became law and resulted in lots of headaches for school boards across the state.

Rep. Kim Daniels also won reelection. Daniels was a sponsor of the Religious Expression in Schools law that we here at Florida Citizens for Science opposed in 2017. She was also responsible for the In God We Trust law that requires all Florida public schools to prominently display that motto.

And we know that the Florida Citizens’ Alliance is on their conservative crusade, as we noted a little while ago. “Prominent on [Florida Citizens’ Alliance’s] expanded menu of concerns was climate change, and humanity’s presumed role in driving it. […] ‘Unfortunately, what it’s become is indoctrination and not education. That’s our major problem,'”

Are you ready to get to work?

We appreciate when you like and share our social media posts. That helps with awareness, so please keep doing so. But if that’s all you’re doing, then we’re in trouble. We need to take your energy that went into those incredibly tight, recent elections that are so close that they’re going into recount and focus it on standing firm in defense of science education in the coming months. There is no doubt that we’re going to be very busy soon. We need your advice, your effort, your time, your commitment to science education, your connections, and your experience. Without your participation in this fight, science education, and Florida education in general, will erode and this state’s students will pay the price.

Contact us. Today.

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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2 Responses to It’s Going to be Ugly

  1. Juan Reza says:

    I would like to see a list of actions, proposals, or efforts that are favorable to public understanding and involvement in the scientific enterprise. Although I understand the political campaigning approach to opposing opposition to science in K-12 schools, I am not limited to that approach.
    Science does not take a stand on God. So it seems inappropriate to oppose other peoples’ use or abuse of religious ideas, at least on the basis that it is not science. That political approach to promoting science is itself contrary to the idea of letting all ideas flourish.
    I would be in favor of creating great communication and excitement about all things scientific in schools.
    Just of the top of my head:
    make pro-science slogans available and funded/mandatory. e.g. (1) Science means try it out and see if it’s true. (2) Evolution of new species is the beauty of Creation. (3) E=mc^2. Isn’t that Grrreat! (4) Science only explains how your body works, and how all your electronics work, and how the weather works. Science does not oppose anyone’s God. (5) Our greatest Gift for understanding things in this lifetime is our ability to Reason.

    You see, these assertions do not play into the counter-productive political back-and-forth. This approach changes the game. I have embedded a respect for other people’s religions without simply attempting to force Science on them, but invite them in.

    To be clear, I wish there were a way to provide equal (extremely equal) quality of education to all children, and not abuse it to indoctrinate – like in Cuba, Japan, and China for example (I’m not being sarcastic, they have it figured out and are well along).
    The problem at the core of this and other inequities in the US is the permanent economic designation of rich and poor, based on inheritance and “class” power, rather than individual merit.
    Good luck and carry on.

  2. Pierce R. Butler says:

    I suspect the same crew will launch “culture war” attacks across the board.

    FCS and its partner organizations should look into building wider alliances with women’s groups, LGBTQ+ organizations, sex educators, secularists, and others defending their rights against this onslaught.

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