Bill protects ‘controversial science’ teaching

By Kate Nash: The New Mexican

A measure pending in the Senate Education Committee would protect teachers who want to talk about theories of a “controversial scientific nature,” including but not limited to creationism, its sponsor said.

“There’s fear that if they say the wrong thing at the wrong time with the wrong student present or the wrong authority present, that there could be some reprisal,” said Sen. Kent Cravens, R-Albuquerque, who is carrying the bill.

The measure (SB433) “just asks that if there’s a controversial scientific theory being presented, that a teacher can’t be reprimanded or fired or downgraded or anyway harmed if the teacher happens to mention that there are other theories of controversial scientific nature, to include biological evolution, human cloning, global warming, you name a dozen different things.”

Cravens said the bill isn’t meant to be an anti-Darwinism measure.

“It’s not intended to be,” he said, “It’s just intended to give the teacher the ability to disclose that there may be another way to think about this, whatever subject they are talking about.”

Such measures have been tried unsuccessfully in the Senate in the past. Its chances of passing this session seem slim; if it clears the education committee, it would go to the Senate Judiciary Committee before it could reach the Senate floor. Seventeen days remain in the session.

Contact Kate Nash at 986-3036 or knash@sfnewmexican.com.