[xmca] pending FL Teachers' & Students' Rights law (biology)

From: Tony Whitson <twhitson who-is-at UDel.Edu>
Date: Sun Apr 13 2008 - 15:04:23 PDT

Although this is not especially on point for XMCA, I think it could be a
useful example for some purposes, esp. in teaching (if you made up
something like this, your students wouldn't let you get away with it).

At http://curricublog.org/2008/04/13/florida-house-bills/ I have a link to
a PDF of the Florida House of Representatives staff analysis of a bill
that has now been approved by the House (although it's different from the
Seanate version). Here's what they report about the effects of the
proposed law with respect to teachers (students are given similar
protections for their right to express their beliefs in exams, etc.,
without fear of being penalized):

Effect of Proposed Changes:

Teacherís Rights and Prescribed Curriculum:

The bill provides that every public school teacher in grades K through 12
has the "affirmative right and freedom" to "objectively present scientific
information relevant to the full range of views regarding biological and
chemical evolution in connection with teaching any prescribed curriculum
regarding chemical or biological origins." If a teacher determines that
certain information is sufficiently "scientific" and "relevant," the
teacher has a "right" to teach that material irrespective of whether such
information is contrary to the curriculum adopted by the State Board of
Education through the SSS or by the school district through its
instructional materials. The principal, the district school
superintendent, the district school board, or the State Board of Education
may disagree that the information is "scientific," "relevant," or
"objectively present[ed];" however, that fact does not affect that
teacherís "right" to present the material. If the principal or other
school district staff attempts to restrict a teacherís ability to teach
such information, or govern the manner of presentation, it appears the
bill grants the teacher a cause of action to enforce the "right" granted
in the bill.

The bill, in effect, with regard only to biological or chemical evolution
restricts the ability of the State Board of Education or the district
school board to define and regulate curriculum content.

Tony Whitson
UD School of Education


"those who fail to reread
  are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
                   -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)

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