IMAGE SOURCE: BETTMANN/CORBIS

BY ERIN DISMEIER

Teachers in Tennessee will soon be able to challenge the theory of evolution in the classroom when the so called "monkey bill" becomes law later this month.

According to the Wall Street Journal, this bill follows a similar “academic freedom” law which went into effect in Louisiana in 2008.  Oklahoma may soon follow suit.

“The bill ‘provides guidelines’ for teachers when answering students’ questions about evolution, global warming and other scientific subjects, in addition to guaranteeing teachers won’t be disciplined for challenging the tenets of science.”

However, some are questioning the need for such a law.  The LA Times says...

“Teachers currently have no problem addressing unconventional ideas and challenges that students bring up. They argue, instead, that the measure gives legal cover to teachers to introduce pseudo scientific ideas.”

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam did not veto the bill, but he didn’t sign it either.  When that happens in Tennessee, the bill becomes law in 10 days. USA Today quoted one opponent of the bill who believes it will lead to legal problems for schools.

“He should have been clear from the beginning what he wanted to do, and this result could have been different.  Now some small district is going to have to figure out what this statute means, and it will become a party to a very expensive lawsuit.”

Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives, Bo Watson, told the Nashville Scene he doesn’t think the law will really change how science is taught.

“The one thing that it potentially changes is a teacher’s comfort level and confidence in responding to questions students may have.”
 

'Monkey Bill' in Tennessee Set to Become Law

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Apr 12, 2012

'Monkey Bill' in Tennessee Set to Become Law

IMAGE SOURCE: BETTMANN/CORBIS

BY ERIN DISMEIER

Teachers in Tennessee will soon be able to challenge the theory of evolution in the classroom when the so called "monkey bill" becomes law later this month.

According to the Wall Street Journal, this bill follows a similar “academic freedom” law which went into effect in Louisiana in 2008.  Oklahoma may soon follow suit.

“The bill ‘provides guidelines’ for teachers when answering students’ questions about evolution, global warming and other scientific subjects, in addition to guaranteeing teachers won’t be disciplined for challenging the tenets of science.”

However, some are questioning the need for such a law.  The LA Times says...

“Teachers currently have no problem addressing unconventional ideas and challenges that students bring up. They argue, instead, that the measure gives legal cover to teachers to introduce pseudo scientific ideas.”

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam did not veto the bill, but he didn’t sign it either.  When that happens in Tennessee, the bill becomes law in 10 days. USA Today quoted one opponent of the bill who believes it will lead to legal problems for schools.

“He should have been clear from the beginning what he wanted to do, and this result could have been different.  Now some small district is going to have to figure out what this statute means, and it will become a party to a very expensive lawsuit.”

Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives, Bo Watson, told the Nashville Scene he doesn’t think the law will really change how science is taught.

“The one thing that it potentially changes is a teacher’s comfort level and confidence in responding to questions students may have.”
 

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