Ohio's HB 597 poses a threat to students and science education throughout the Buckeye State. Ohioans must reach out to their legislators now to urge that the anti-science provisions be blocked or removed.
The bill's sponsor bragged, as the Cleveland Plain Dealer puts it, that the bill "prevents teachers and schools from only presenting one side of a political and scientific debate — global warming, for example, without presenting the other side." As for "intelligent design" or other forms of creationism, sponsor Andy Thompson (shown at right) added, "I don't know that it needs to be treated on par [with evolution], but districts will be able to choose based on their judgment."
The bill is already being heard in committee! Ohioans should contact their legislators immediately, and urge that the bill be blocked or amended. Those living elsewhere should reach out to their friends and family in Ohio and urge them to do the same.
The most dangerous aspect of HB 597 is that it could serve as a Trojan horse for science denial. The bill's main focus is on ending Ohio's partnership with other states in developing shared education standards. Reasonable people can disagree about Common Core standards and Next Generation Science Standards, and we at NCSE take no stance on that broader issue. But no matter where lawmakers stand on NGSS, we believe everyone should oppose efforts to use that important debate to sneak creationism, climate change denial, or other nonscience into science classrooms.
Concerned Ohioans must make their voices heard to ensure that, as legislators debate this bill, they do not open science classroom doors to political or religious indoctrination, nonscience, or bad science.
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