Bill Allowing Teachers to Question Proven Scientific Theories Introduced in North Dakota
On January 14, 2019, a bill (House Bill 1538) was introduced in the North Dakota legislature that critics say would undermine science education. The bill aims to give teachers “the freedom to teach students the strengths and weaknesses of scientific theories and controversies.” It would, if enacted, prevent the “state board of public school education, superintendent of public instruction, board of a school district, each public school, administrators, teachers, and ancillary staff . . . prohibit[ing] teachers from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review the scientific strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific theories and controversies.”
Science education groups have expressed concern that the bill will undermine science education by giving teachers greater ability to present proven scientific theories, such as climate change and evolution, as controversial. It would also allow them to discuss discredited or unproven concepts.
On January 22, 2019, North Dakota House Bill 1538 was withdrawn from consideration by the legislature.