You are here

Discovery Institute's “Model Academic Freedom Statute on Evolution"

On February 7, 2008, the Discovery Institute launched academicfreedompetition.com in cooperation with Motive Marketing, one of the companies in charge of promoting Expelled. Among other things, this site contains the following model "academic freedom" bill:


MODEL ACADEMIC FREEDOM STATUTE ON EVOLUTION
[version: 9/7/2007]


SYNOPSIS: Existing law does not expressly provide a right nor does it expressly protect tenure and employment for a public school teacher or teacher at an institution of higher education for presenting scientific information pertaining to the full range of scientific views regarding biological and chemical evolution. In addition, students are not expressly provided a right to positions on views regarding biological and chemical evolution.

This bill would expressly provide rights and protection for teachers concerning scientific presentations on views regarding biological and chemical evolution and students concerning their positions on views regarding biological and chemical evolution.

A BILL
TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT


Providing teacher rights and protection for a public school teacher or a teacher at an institution of higher education to present scientific information pertaining to the full range of scientific views regarding biological and chemical evolution in applicable curricula or in a course of learning; providing employment and tenure protection and protection against discrimination for any public school teacher or teacher at a public institution of higher education related to the presentation of such information; and providing student protection for subscribing to a particular position on views regarding biological or chemical evolution.

BE IT ENACTED BY ____________:

Section 1. This law shall be known as the "Academic Freedom Act."

Section 2. The Legislature finds that existing law does not expressly protect the right of teachers identified by the United States Supreme Court in Edwards v. Aguillard to present scientific critiques of prevailing scientific theories. The Legislature further finds that existing law does not expressly protect the right of students to hold a position on views regarding biological or chemical evolution. The Legislature further finds that the topic of evolution has generated intense controversy, lawsuits and threats of lawsuits, where some lower courts such as Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School Board, have created confusion about the rights of teachers and students to hold differing views about scientific controversies and express those views without fear of adverse employment or academic consequences. Finally, the Legislature finds that school districts and school administrators should not bear the primary burden of defending the academic freedom of teachers and students to discuss the topics of biological or chemical evolution. It is the intent of the Legislature that this act expressly protects those rights.

Section 3. Every K-12 public school teacher or teacher or instructor in any two-year or four-year public institution of higher education, or in any graduate or adult program thereof, in the State of ______________, shall have the affirmative right and freedom to present scientific information pertaining to the full range of scientific views regarding biological and chemical evolution.

Section 4. No K-12 public school teacher or teacher or instructor in any two-year or four-year public institution of higher education, or in any graduate or adult program thereof, in the State of ___________, shall be terminated, disciplined, denied tenure, or otherwise discriminated against for presenting scientific information pertaining to the full range of scientific views regarding biological or chemical evolution in any curricula or course of learning, provided, with respect to K-12 teachers, the [insert official title of state’s science standards] has been taught as appropriate to the grade and subject assignment.

Section 5. Students may be evaluated based upon their understanding of course materials, but no student in any public school or institution of higher education shall be penalized in any way because he or she may subscribe to a particular position on any views regarding biological or chemical evolution.

Section 6. The rights and privileges contained in this act apply when the subject of biological or chemical origins is part of the curriculum. Nothing in this act shall be construed as requiring or encouraging any change in the state curriculum standards in K-12 public schools, nor shall any provision of this act be construed as prescribing the curricular content of any course in any two-year or four-year public institution of higher education in the state.

Section 7. Nothing in this act shall be construed as promoting any religious doctrine, promoting discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promoting discrimination for or against religion or non-religion.

Section 8. This act shall become effective on the first day of the third month following its passage and approval by the Governor, or its otherwise becoming law.