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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Science committee opposes Storms' bill



Thirty-seven members of the committee that drafted the state's new science standards have lined up against the recently filed "academic freedom" bills, saying in a statement this morning that the bills are a subterfuge for injecting the religious beliefs held by some into the science classroom."

"Evolution is the only explanation of the development and diversity of life that relies entirely on scientifically verifiable laws of nature and accounts for a huge set of observations without requiring the intervention of a supernatural agent," the statement also says.

The bills, based on model legislation from the Discovery Institute, the Seattle center known for its advocacy of intelligent design, would provide teachers with "a right to present scientific information relevant to the full range of views on biological and chemical origins." Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Brandon, and Rep. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, filed the bills in the wake of the state Baord of Education's Feb. 19 decision to adopt new standards that describe evolution as the fundamental pillar of modern biology.

It's anyone's guess how much traction the bills will get, but it's not hard to envision a scenario where they end up on Gov. Crist's desk. On the House side, the bill has the support of House Speaker Marco Rubio, R-Miami, who is widely considered to be a future candidate for governor and could use the bill to shore up support from religious conservatives. On the Senate side, the education committee headed by Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, is shaping up to be the key hurdle.

- Ron Matus, state education reporter

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:37am]


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