Bill Undermining Science Education Introduced in Florida
On January 14, 2019, a bill (SB 330) was introduced in the Florida Senate that would, if enacted, required “[c]ontroversial [scientific] theories and concepts [to] be taught in a factual, objective, and balanced manner.” The bill does not define what constitutes a “controversial” theory or concept. However, the term appears to be intended to capture evolution and climate change, with the bill’s sponsor, Senator Dennis Baxley, saying it is needed to ensure teachers present “different worldviews” on those topics.
Senator Baxley has previously questioned the science of climate change, asserting that it is not “settled.” He has also made similar claims about evolution. In 2008, when he was the executive director of the Christian Coalition of Florida, Senator Buxley said that “[t]he controversy [surrounding evolution] will never be over” and asserted that “a number of scientific perspectives . . . and a number of religious and other perspectives” will be “put forward as the years go on.”
In 2017, Senator Baxley introducedSenate Bill 966, requiring “balanced” teaching of controversial theories, such as evolution and climate change. That bill died in committee.
On May 3, 2019, SB 330 died in the Florida Senate Education Committee.