A Republican legislator — of course — has submitted a bill in the Ohio House of Representatives to repeal Common Core and it includes language that the sponsor of the bill says will allow local school districts to teach creationism and climate change denial in public school science classrooms. HB 597 includes this language:
(iii) The standards in science shall be based in core existing disciplines of biology, chemistry, and physics; incorporate grade-level mathematics and be referenced to the mathematics standards; focus on academic and scientific knowledge rather than scientific processes; and prohibit political or religious interpretation of scientific facts in favor of another.
(iv) The standards in social studies shall incorporate the original texts and the original context of the declaration of independence, the northwest ordinance, the constitution of the United States and its amendments with emphasis on the bill of rights; incorporate the Ohio constitution; define the United States of America as a constitutional republic; be based on acquisition of real knowledge of major individuals and events; require the study of world and American geography; and prohibit a specific political or religious interpretation of the standards’ content.
The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Andy Thompson, explains what this means:
Thompson also clarified some unclear language in the bill about science standards that would “prohibit political or religious interpretation of scientific facts in favor of another.” Thompson said that clause prevents teachers and schools from only presenting one side of a political and scientific debate — global warming, for example — without also presenting the other side.
And he said the bill gives districts and teachers the freedom to teach religious interpretations of scientific issues as they deem best. That allows “intelligent design” and creationism to be taught alongside evolution, as well as varying views on the age of the earth and whether dinosaurs and people existed at the same time.
“It gives some flexibility to districts to pursue what they think is most appropriate to their students,” Thompson said. “We want to have the ability to share perspectives that differ. Teaching one thing to the exclusion of anything else limits the discussion.”
Asked if the law would require intelligent design to be taught as equivalent to evolution, Thompson said: “I don’t know that it needs to be treated on par, but districts will be able to choose based on their judgment.”
When are state and local legislators going to realize that no matter how many times they try to find a way for equal time for creationism, the courts ruled on this a long, long time ago and they don’t get to overrule that?