We’ve been working hard here at Florida Citizens for Science in an effort to stop the horrible instructional materials bills that are working their way through the state legislature. House Bill 989 and Senate Bill 1210 would give the green light to creationists and climate change deniers to harass school boards across the state about what’s in textbooks and other materials teachers use. I’m happy to report that we’re now making good headway in educating the public about the impending disaster that will result if these bills become law.
A team of us co-wrote an op-ed that’s going to be printed in Sunday’s Gainesville Sun. But the paper has already posted it online. It was great working with Jiri Hulcr and Andrea Lucky on this piece: Bill Seeks to Hijack Educational Standards.
Florida’s education standards were created cooperatively with input from Florida educators and parents, as well as business and community leaders. The instructional materials bill’s real goal has nothing to do with improving or enhancing the standards. Instead, it is a thinly veiled attempt by a special interest group to hijack Florida education and provide a new avenue to infuse their agenda into public schools.
I also got an op-ed published in the Tallahassee Democrat today: Anti-science education bill not benign.
If this bill becomes law, school boards will become inundated with demands that certain books be banned and that schools must discontinue using textbooks that don’t mesh with a vocal minority’s ideological views. This bill allows any county resident, not just parents, to force school boards to take seriously their unfounded claims that textbooks are biased and inaccurate.
This bill requires school boards to appoint hearing officers to consider nonsense complaints, in essence giving protestors on a crusade nearly equal weight in the instructional materials selection process as education and subject matter experts.
This bill is a disaster and your local school board can very likely be a casualty.
The Tallahassee Democrat also published an opposing op-ed that tries to claim that the bills are all about resisting the textbook industry monopoly. It’s a nonsensical, weak argument to say the least. Read for yourself: Florida school boards should control curriculum.
And the Lakeland Ledger published a letter by Florida Citizens for Science president Jonathan Smith: Make America Smart Again.
This is a deliberate attempt by those with a religious and/or political agenda to deliberately censor curriculum in Florida’s public schools.
We at Florida Citizens for Science strongly oppose this bill and are very concerned that it will essentially remove real learning and discourse from our Florida classrooms. If we want to make America great again, let’s start with making America smart again.
Now it’s your turn. Share our op-eds widely. Send them to the lawmakers in Tallahassee. We still have a chance to make a difference in the Senate since the bill will still have to be heard in one more committee meeting: Appropriations. And we can also try to convince representatives to argue against the bill when it is presented to the full House for questions and debate, which I believe will happen on Tuesday (18th). So, don’t be a spectator. Send emails, make phone calls and pay personal visits to as many lawmakers as you can. Together, we can make a difference.