Ladies and Gentlemen, I present … Iowa!

Another “academic freedom” bill, this time in Iowa. Those little beavers over at the DI have been busy over the past few months apparently. The "Evolution Academic Freedom Act" (HF 183; “A bill for an act relating to the teaching of chemical and biological evolution in school districts and public postsecondary institutions and providing an effective date”) has been sent to the House Education Committee and is startlingly familiar:

Students at all levels “shall be evaluated based upon their understanding of course materials through standard testing procedures. However, students shall not be penalized for subscribing to a particular position or view regarding biological or chemical evolution.

In other words, if the student holds the scientifically incorrect view and uses it as an answer., you as a teacher cannot penalize them. That is just bad pedagogy.

There are also the usual clauses about protecting the “academic freedom” of instructors to

“objectively present scientific information relevant to the full range of scientific views regarding biological and chemical evolution in connection with teaching any prescribed curriculum regarding chemical or biological evolution.”

The bill’s sponsor is Rod A. Roberts - Republican and ordained minister in the Church of Christ.

More details over at NCSE.

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For the little good it does these idiots I fired off an email.

By AussiePete (not verified) on 05 Feb 2009 #permalink

"In other words, if the student holds the scientifically incorrect view and uses it as an answer., you as a teacher cannot penalize them. That is just bad pedagogy."

Isn't there a different interpretation of the bill?
For instance, a student answering a question of the difference between sympatric and allopatric speciation by giving the correct scientific definitions but then adding at the end "although I don't accept this actually occurs because I believe God created all species in the original week of Creation, 6000 years ago"

In reality the sort of teachers that believe in creation are generally not knowledgeable enough in biology to impart the correct answer in the first place but in theory the wording doesn't have to mean that a straightforward creationism "God-did-it" answer gets the creationist student full points every time.

Back when I lived in Minnesota, a Minnesota native informed me that IOWA was actually an acronym: "Idiots Out Walking Around".

I wonder if he was right...

When I lived in MN, the standard joke was, "Why does the Mississippi flow south? Because Iowa sucks." Jokes in poor taste aside, I think Iowa's current educational system is strong enough to have produced enough competent people to swat this nonsense down.

By winnebago (not verified) on 06 Feb 2009 #permalink

Good...people are talking about Iowa.

This is a particularly crappy bill because I can guarantee they're going to bring the Gonzales case back from the dead in order to keep the persecution complex going.