Today the House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee considered the Instructional Materials bill that we know will open the door to creationists and climate change deniers wanting to challenge how science is taught in Florida schools. The bill was approved on a 12 to 2 vote. It has one more committee stop to make in the House, which hasn’t been scheduled yet.
The bill was considered last in the nearly two hour meeting. That might have been a factor in the truly frustrating aspect of this vote: there was no debate. Only one citizen came forward to speak (she had some valid concerns about the timing of the challenge process and the qualifications of the unbiased hearing officer as currently described in the bill). After she finished, the committee chair opened the floor to any debate and there was none. Then the votes were cast.
We have some very serious and valid concerns about this bill and those concerns are being ignored. Coincidentally, there was a story published in today’s Florida Today: ‘Pro-Islam’ textbook stirs debate in Brevard — again. It’s not related to science education, but all you have to do is replace ‘Pro-Islam’ with ‘Pro-Evolution’ and I think you can see why this story is deeply concerning, especially in light of this horrible Instructional Materials bill.
If you’re feeling as frustrated as I am, I implore you not to give up. Instead, get louder. It won’t hurt to start calling, emailing and visiting lawmakers now in the House Education Committee, which will be bill’s next stop. In the Senate, their version of the bill will be heard next in the Senate Appropriations Committee. That meeting has not been scheduled yet.
Don’t give up.