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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Throwing fuel on the fire



Deutch As if the issue of evolution hasn't been controversial enough in Florida, two state senators have moved to fan the flames by proposing a sex ed amendment to the "academic freedom" bill that's scheduled for second reading on the Senate floor today.

Riffing off the question of why some lawmakers have singled out evolution for special treatment in law, senators Ted Deutch (left) and Nan Rich have pitched the concept that teachers who instruct the equally contentious subject of sex education might deserve similar protection as those who raise questions about the origin of species.

Their amendment states, in part:

A public school teacher in the state's K-12 school system may not be disciplined, denied tenure, terminated, or otherwise discriminated against for objectively presenting scientific information relevant to the full range of scientific views regarding biological or chemical evolution and comprehensive sexual education that is age-appropriate and factual in connection with teaching any prescribed curriculum regarding chemical or biological evolution and any prescribed abstinence-only curriculum regarding human sexuality, respectively.

Deutch's own bill requiring schools to teach medically accurate, factual and age-appropriate sex education curriculum has shown no sign of life in committees. So why not try to attach the concept, which Republicans seem to dislike, onto the evolution bill that so many Democrats disdain, right? (Deutch was the lone nay vote on the evolution bill when it passed the Senate Education committee.)

The poison pill is not likely to win adoption. But it's entertaining to note. UPDATE: The amendment failed on voice vote.

UPDATE 2: After some spirited debate, the highlight of which was sponsor Sen. Ronda Storms answering in several ways except "yes" or "no" to the question whether Intelligent Design could be taught under her bill, the legislation was moved ahead for its third and final reading.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:39am]


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