Update from Missouri

Missouri's House Bill 1472, which would require school districts to allow parents to have their children excused from learning about evolution, is in the headlines, after the bill was referred to the House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education on February 3, 2014.

Interviewed by the Kansas City Star (February 6, 2014), the bill's sponsor Rick Brattin (R-District 55) said that requiring students to study evolution is "an absolute infringement on people's rights" and that evolution is "just as much faith and, you know, just as much pulled out of the air as, say, any religion."

David Evans, the executive director of the National Science Teachers Association, explained, "Evolution by natural selection is the unifying principle in the study of biology," and warned that Brattin's bill would undermine American competiveness in science education.

Brattin also claimed to have received complaints about students ridiculed in school for not accepting evolution, telling KCTV (February 7, 2014) that  "[o]ur schools basically mandate that we teach one side," adding, "It is an indoctrination because it is not [an] objective approach." 

Two high school students in Brattin's district interviewed by KCTV, however, claimed not to be taught about evolution, and evidently were unaware of or confused about it. The station also quoted a supporter of Brattin's as reasoning, "Evolution is not taught in the Bible so it shouldn't be taught in the class."

A separate antievolution bill in Missouri, House Bill 1587, which would deprive administrators of the ability to prevent teachers from miseducating students about "scientific controversies" around evolution, was referred to the House Commitee on Elementary and Secondary Education on February 5, 2014.