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by Nick Matzke
Senate Bill 336, the counterpart of Alabama House Bill 391, passed the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday, March 10 by a vote of 7-0.
House Bill 391, one of two antievolution bills in the Alabama legislature, was passed by the House Education Committee by a vote of 10-2 (with one abstention) on March 3.
On March 4, the proposed Minnesota science standards were approved by the House Education Policy Committee when it voted 18-12 to pass House file 2558. Most of the debate over HF 2558 centered on the contentious social science standards; according to the Saint Paul Pioneer-Press, the science standards "generated little discussion during the two-hour debate. The bill still has several committee stops before it reaches the House floor. The Senate Education Committee has not yet taken any votes on the science or social studies standards."
On February 24, House Bill 2194 was passed by the Oklahoma state House by a vote of 96-0. As originally introduced on February 2, HB 2194 required textbook publishers to furnish the State Textbook Committee with electronic files for the production of Braille versions of textbooks in conformance with U.S. Department of Education standards. On February 23, the bill was amended to include a new section that requires all textbooks that discuss evolution to include a long disclaimer.
A parent in Helena, Montana, is attempting to have a book about horses removed from her local elementary school library because it devotes two pages to discussing equine evolution.
On February 19, the Georgia Department of Education released revised versions of proposed new science standards, with major changes in the sections dealing with evolution. When the drafts of the Georgia Performance Standards for Science were first released for public comment in January, the word "evolution," as well as most of the significant concepts related to this topic, were not included in them.
On February 17, Senate Bill 336 -- entitled the "Academic Freedom Act" -- was introduced in the Alabama state Senate and referred to the Senate Education Committee.
More than 250 Missouri scientists and educators have released a statement opposing proposed legislation requiring equal time for "intelligent design" whenever evolution is taught. House Bill 911 in the Missouri General Assembly was filed earlier this year, and has been receiving attention within the state, although it has not yet moved beyond the introduction stage.
Georgia is in the process of revising its 1997 “Quality Control Curriculum” (QCC) science education standards. The previous standards received a grade of F on Dr. Lawrence Lerner’s 2000 evaluation of science education standards produced for the Fordham Foundation. The earlier standards used the word “evolution,” but according to Lerner, “not in a way that encourages clarification of its role in the life sciences.”