“The truth is going to be different based on your own experience and your own bias”

Seal_of_Collier_County,_FloridaAn article in today’s Naples Daily News reports on the textbook selection process going on right now in Collier County: Committee presents new textbooks, Collier school board to vote next month. Keep in mind that the Instructional Materials bills that we here at Florida Citizens for Science are fighting against in our state legislature were conceived in Collier County. There have been battles over textbooks there for several years, featuring “opposing ideological forces,” as the reporter puts it. The bill sponsor in the House is Byron Donalds, from Naples. And his wife, Erika Donalds, is the Collier County school board vice chairwoman.

With that background in mind, I think you can see why there was a reaction to something Mrs. Donalds said:

She applauded the residents who had read and reviewed hundreds of pages of textbooks “because they want to make sure that the truth is heard.”

Erika Donalds caused the audience to stir when she added, “The truth is going to be different based on your own experience and your own bias, and everyone has it, and that’s fine.”

What biases are Mrs. Donalds referring to? I think this guy nails it:

Bill Korson, a Naples resident who sat on the district’s U.S. history instructional materials committee, cautioned that many people hold opinions that are “based on unique interpretations of American history or unique belief systems.”

Korson brought up House Bill 989, an instructional materials bill introduced by state Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Naples, in February, that would allow all Collier residents such as Doyle to file formal objections “to arbitrarily question the appropriateness of content.”

“Deniers of global warming with no connection to the school district can file costly complaint after complaint,” Korson said. “Creationists who place cave dwellers with dinosaurs and rely on their beliefs with no scientific evidence can file complaints.”

House Bill 989 will be debated tomorrow (Tuesday) on the House floor. It would be nice if some lawmakers pressed Mr. Donalds about our very real, substantiated concerns. Please call your representative and demand they not rubber stamp this awful bill.

Update: The Senate version of the bill, SB 1210, will be considered during the April 20, Thursday, Appropriations Committee meeting. Start calling senators now. We can’t let our voices be ignored any more!

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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