Tennessee

Tennessee 2011 SB893

State: Tennessee Date introduced: February 16, 2011 Main sponsor: Watson Bill Number: SB893 Bill Title: none, "protects a teacher from discipline for teaching scientific subjects in an objective manner" Current Status: Assigned to General subcommittee of Senate Education committee, on hold until 2012

Two "academic freedom" bills have been introduced in Tennessee in 2011.

Tennessee 2011 HB368

State: Tennessee Date introduced: February 09, 2011 Main sponsor: Dunn Bill Number: HB368 Bill Title: none, "protects a teacher from discipline for teaching scientific subjects in an objective manner" Current Status: Assigned to House Education committee, subcommittee hearings on 2/23, 3/2, 3/16 Passed House Education committee, 3/29 Passed Calendar and Rules Committee, 3/31 Passed House, 4/7

Two "academic freedom" bills have been introduced in Tennessee in 2011.

Text as introduced.

HOUSE BILL 368

Resolution: No Nonscience in Tennessee Science Classes

WHEREAS [name of district / board] agrees with the Tennessee General Assembly’s view, expressed in the preamble to Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-1030, that “[a]n important purpose of science education is to inform students about scientific evidence and to help students develop critical thinking skills necessary to become intelligent, productive, and scientifically informed citizens,” and

Text of the Monkey Law - HB 368/SB 893

HOUSE BILL 368 By Dunn
AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, Chapter 6, Part 10, relative to teaching scientific subjects in elementary schools.

WHEREAS, the general assembly finds that:

(1) An important purpose of science education is to inform students about
scientific evidence and to help students develop critical thinking skills necessary to become intelligent, productive, and scientifically informed citizens;

Background on Tennessee's 21st Century Monkey Law

In 2012, Tennessee’s legislature enacted a 21st century "Monkey Law," a law opening the state’s science classrooms to lessons in creationism, climate change denial, and other nonscience.

Take action on Tennessee's Monkey Bill

When Tennessee's legislature debated a "Monkey Bill" in 2012, NCSE joined with concerned citizens to protect science classes. The bill's text singles out evolution and climate change, as if those topics were scientifically controversial, and it blocks school administrators from maintaining a consistent curriculum. It opens the door for creationist parents or students to disrupt classrooms, or for teachers who deny the basic science of climate change to present pseudoscience.

The Scopes Trial of 1925

Introduction

In 1925, the state of Tennessee passed the Butler Act, which outlawed the teaching of "any theory that denies the divine creation of man and teaches instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals." The ACLU offered to defend any teacher accused of violating the Act, and John Scopes agreed to incriminate himself by teaching evolution.

Daniel v. Waters and Steele v. Waters (1973 - 1975)

On April 30, 1973, Tennessee became the first state to pass a balanced treatment law. Intended to ensure that creationism was taught alongside evolution, this statute required any textbook discussing "a theory about origins or creation of man and his world" to give equal attention and emphasis to "the Genesis account in the Bible," as well as other unspecified theories. However, it expressly excluded "the teaching of all occult or satanical beliefs of human origin" from this requirement.

Tennessee Darwin Coalition

It has recently come to our attention that with the inclusion of the Gateway standards in the Tennessee high school biology curriculum, which require the coverage of evolutionary principles, many teachers are choosing to exclude human-related examples. We support and applaud the effort that administrators have made to insure the inclusion of evolution in the curriculum of high schools across the state.

Tennessee Academy of Science *

The Tennessee Academy of Science, as an affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, endorses the position statement of the AAAS concerning research and teaching of the scientific theory of evolution. Furthermore, TAS emphasizes that the theory of evolution is a fundamental concept of science, and thus must also be a cornerstone of science education. Evolution in the broadest sense refers to any change over time.