Anti-Evolution 'Monkey Bill' May Legally Protect Teachers That Denounce Evolution
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) announced yesterday that he will “probably” sign what critics call the “monkey bill.” As Josh Roseneau of the National Center for Science Education said, the bill would “effectively open the door to creationism.”
Passed by the state Senate and the House last month, the bill states that the teaching of “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning can cause controversy,” leaving concerned principals or administrators at a disadvantage against creationist teachers.
Under the bill,
Neither the state board of education, nor any public elementary or secondary school governing authority, director of schools, school system administrator, or any public elementary or secondary school principal or administrator shall prohibit any teacher in a public school system of this state from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.
Though the bill does not directly implement a religious or creationist curriculum in public schools, it gives legal cover to teachers who denounce evolution.