In the Florida legislature, a bill has been filed that would allow school districts to teach their students alternative concepts to “controversial theories” like climate change and evolution, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The bill’s language innocuously requires that schools teach the “theories” in a “factual, objective, and balanced manner.” Yet, according to the group that wrote the bill, the Florida Citizens Alliance, the bill is necessary because Florida curriculum in the schools is equal to “political and religious indoctrination.”
The bill’s sponsor, Senator Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala) says that textbooks now have “uniformity” of thought, and should instead teach “different worldviews.”
“Nothing is ever settled if it’s science, because people are always questioning science,” Baxley said. “If you look at the history of human learning, for a long time the official worldview was that the world was flat. Anything you now accept as fact comes from a perspective and you learn from examining different schools of thought.”
Ben Kirtman, a professor of Atmospheric Sciences the University of Miami, in reference to climate change, says, “It is resolved. I find this a way to create artificial doubt about the science to control policy conversation, which is antithetical to the way we do things in this country … The danger is you’re going to have people who don’t have a fundamental understanding of the way science works.”
Brandon Haught, a founding board member of Florida Citizens for Science who also teaches freshman environmental science at a high school near Orlando, remarks, “In K-12, keep in mind, we’re laying the basic foundation for the rest of their lives … I want to teach them science, period. We only have a handful of days for dedicated lesson on this topic (climate change), so I don’t have time to say, ‘This is what other people think.’”
Baxley is no stranger to controversial issues. In the past he has backed bills that would allow guns in churches and would ban “free speech zones” on college campuses.
As the Florida Citizens Alliance has grown in influence, they have a better shot than they ever have at getting this bill passed.