If you live in Florida and don’t believe in climate change, you now have the right to challenge if public schools can educate students about climate science. You don’t even have to have a kid!
Gov. Rick Scott signed House Bill 989 into law last week, despite objections from science advocacy groups. The legislation gives any state resident the right to challenge what’s taught in public schools. HB 989 also casts a pretty wide net over what residents can file a complaint about; any “instruction material” deemed “inappropriate” or “unsuitable” can be disputed.
According to The Washington Post, the law also requires that public schools hire an “unbiased hearing officer” to review the complaints. Instruction material is defined by basically anything pertaining to teaching: any textbooks, movies, novels, etc., are up for objections.
Ultimately, the “unbiased” officer will review the complaints and decide whether it warrants removal from the curriculum.
Though a resident could theoretically challenge any subject’s instruction materials, it’s quite evident that the law’s introduction was intended as an avenue for parents to dispute evolution and climate science. The Post cites two affidavits written by parents in support of the bill. Sarah Kaplan writes:
“One affidavit from a Collier County resident complained that evolution and global warming were taught as “reality.” Another criticized her child’s sixth-grade science curriculum, writing that “the two main theories on the origin of man are the theory of evolution and creationism,” and that her daughter had only been taught about evolution.”
And if it couldn’t get any clearer: the bill was supported by the Florida Citizens’ Alliance — an organization that classified the Freedom Project Academy’s curriculum as ideal instruction. Take a gander at the Freedom Project Academy’s website and you’ll find that biology is “taught from the perspective that all biological organisms are the direct result of natural laws instituted by the Creator God.”