Assembly Bill 8036, introduced on May 3, 2005, and referred to the Committee on Education, would require that "all pupils in grades kindergarten through twelve in all public schools in the state ... receive instruction in both theories of intelligent design and evolution." It also charges New York's commissioner of education to assist in developing curricula and local boards of education to provide "appropriate training and curriculum materials ... to ensure that all aspects of the theories, along with any supportive data, are fully examined through such course of study." A08036, if enacted, would take effect immediately. Richard Firenze, who teaches biology at Broome Community College, remarked, "This bill is completely absurd. Those of us in New York who are concerned about our children's science education should sit up and take notice: it's not just in places like Georgia and Kansas that creationists are trying to sabotage biology education." The bill's sole sponsor, Daniel L. Hooker (R), represents Assembly District 127, encompassing parts of Greene, Otsego, Delaware, Schoharie, Ulster, Columbia, and Chenango counties. Hooker also recently introduced bills that would, if enacted, permit the display of the Ten Commandments on public buildings and grounds (A08073), declassify sexual orientation from civil right status (A07916), and prohibit the solemnization of same-sex marriages (A07723).
May 10, 2005