Tampa Bay Online: Academic Anarchy
What Stein really meant to say is that the bill insulates teachers from being held accountable for their speech. One wonders whether Florida’s citizens really desire that public-school teachers have that type of protection, one to which few private-sector workers are entitled (and for good reason).
Principals are accountable to the government for the academic performance of their students, and yet the government is proposing another bill that will severely hamper the management flexibility of principals. This is accountability without autonomy, and it’s a recipe for failure.
In this particular case, Floridians should be especially wary. Academic-freedom bills, of all stripes, are generally terrible things. They proclaim to protect a persecuted class, but rarely is that verifiable.
The Storms and Hays proposal purports to shield public-school teachers who are vilified for questioning evolution’s tenets. But a significant number of such teachers simply doesn’t exist.
And what’s more, public-school educators, especially the most incompetent ones, already receive from their unions more job protection than they need or deserve.
The “Academic Freedom Act” is thoroughly flawed and is deserving of deft dismissal.
St. Petersburg Times: Floridians seem content in a state of ignorance
Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859; it wasn’t until this February that Florida’s state Board of Education voted to allow teachers to utter the word “evolution.” But Sen. Ronda Storms, ever a vigilant foe of egghead secularism, has filed a bill to strike a blow for biblical science.
“I would love to know what the ‘scientific alternatives’ are,” says Joe Travis, evolutionary biologist and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at FSU. “I don’t know of any. Not unless I change my definition of ‘science’ to include the supernatural.”
Storms, Wise et al. insist their bill is also about freedom of speech. Why not throw the Word of God up against Darwin in biology class? Never mind that Genesis has differing accounts (Gen. 1:1-2:4 and 2:5-24 â€” check it out) of the creation. Never mind that knowledge of ancient Hebrew myth won’t go far in getting you a job at Scripps or Torrey Pines. Speaker of the House Marco Rubio claims he wants Florida to become the “Silicon Valley” of energy diversification and biotech industry. But he told the Florida Baptist Witness newspaper, “I don’t want a school system that teaches kids that what they’re learning at home is wrong.”
Which impulse will win out with the Republican leadership, Sunshine Silicon or Ain’t Kin to No Monkey? Here’s a hint: Check the poll numbers above. Our students don’t need no stinking science. They’ll have God. He’ll tell them all they need to know. And if they ever travel beyond the Floridian Theocracy, He’ll protect them from falling off the edge of the Earth.