Update from Florida

07.03.2017

Florida's new law making it easier for creationists and climate change deniers to harass their local school districts continues to be in the news. 

The law (PDF), as NCSE previously reported, allows any county resident — not just parents as previously — to challenge instructional materials used in the public schools, and requires the school districts to establish a formal process to hear such complaints, including appointing an "unbiased and qualified hearing officer" not "an employee or agent of the school district."

A columnist in the Palm Beach Post (June 29, 2017) described the consequence: "every whackadoodle with an ideological ax to grind will get the chance — at taxpayer expense — to attack the school curriculum, and educators will have to defend modern scholarship. ... [A] can of worms that's bound to make public education more contentious."

NCSE's Glenn Branch told the Washington Post (July 1, 2017) that supporters of the enacted bill were clear that they sought to challenge the teaching of evolution and climate change, alluding to "the candor with which the backers of the bill have been saying, 'Yeah, we're going to go after evolution, we're going to go after climate change.'"

The Post also quoted Florida Citizens for Science's Brandon Haught as urging concerned Floridians to monitor local challenges to the integrity of science education.