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The Justice Department on April 22 announced that it was closing its inquiry into complaints of religious discrimination by Texas Tech student Micah Spradling against biology professor Michael Dini. See the Justice Department’s press release for details.
House Bill 1172 is scheduled to be considered by the Public Education Committee of the Texas House of Representatives on April 22. Although concerned mainly with the presentation of patriotism, the free enterprise system, and historical events, the proposed bill also contains this provision: "... the board and each school district shall ensure that ... each controversial issue addressed in the public school curriculum is presented in a balanced manner that reflects multiple viewpoints regarding the issue..."
The South Carolina Senate is considering S153, a bill dealing with instructional materials and textbooks. On April 9 an amendment was offered by Sen. Fair with the following key provision:
(B) The following must be placed in all science books published for kindergarten through twelfth grade:
'The cause or causes of life are not scientifically verifiable. Therefore, empirical science cannot provide data about the beginning of life.'
NCSE Executive Director Dr. Eugenie C. Scott was pleasantly surprised on April 12, 2003 at the Center for Inquiry conference in Washington, DC, at which she received CFI's "The Defense of Science Award" for "her tireless leadership in defending scientific evolution and educational freedom." Congratulations to Dr. Scott!
The Public Education Committee of the Texas House of Representatives recently approved HB 1447, which will now be considered by the House as a whole. This bill would return total control of textbook content to the State Board of Education.
The Blount County Board of Education rejected the adoption of three new biology textbooks because they present evolution but do not present creationism, The Daily Times, Maryville, Tennessee, reported on April 5.
The vote to reject the textbooks passed 2 to 1, with four board members declining to vote. Board members Mike Treadway and Jean Simerly voted to deny the texts and Don McNelly voted to approve them.
On April 1, Louisiana Representative Ben Nevers introduced House Concurrent Resolution 50, which “[e]ncourages city, parish, and other local public school systems to refrain from purchasing certain textbooks.”
The resolution states that “in the effort to encourage the development of students’ critical thinking skills, city, parish, and other local public school systems should refrain from purchasing textbooks that do not present a balanced view of the various theories relative to the origin of life but rather refer to one theory as proven fact.”
Senate Bill 168 was not acted upon by the Education Committee before a March 1 deadline, and is therefore officially finished for this year's session of the Kansas Legislature. This result was expected following comments by the Education Committee chair that the bill was already "dead in the water". See February 11 news item on this page.
A bill proposing a textbook disclaimer of evolution has failed to advance in the Oklahoma legislature. HB 1504 missed this year's official deadline for committee action. See also the January 28 news item on this page.
Mississippi University for Women has reinstated Nancy Bryson, an untenured associate professor of chemistry, as its division head of science and mathematics following accusations that she was demoted because of a lecture she gave advocating “intelligent design.” The university administration denies these accusations; the Chronicle for Higher Education (March 17, 2003) reports that according to the university counsel, her lecture played no part in her demotion, and that there were previous concerns about Bryson’s job performance.