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Senate Bill 1386, introduced in the South Carolina Senate on May 15, 2008, and referred to the Senate Committee on Education, is the newest so-called "academic freedom" bill aimed at undermining the teaching of evolution, joining similar bills currently under consideration in Louisiana, Michigan, and Missouri. Similar bills in Florida and Alabama died when the legislative session in those states ended.
The South Carolina board of education voted on January 9, 2008, to add Kenneth R. Miller and Joseph Levine's popular high school textbook Biology, published by Prentice-Hall, to the official list of textbooks approved by the state. "Science teachers from across the state erupted in applause after the vote," the Associated Press (January 9, 2008) reported [Link broken].
South Carolina's Education Oversight Committee (EOC) approved the state science standard concerned with evolution on June 12, after delaying for seven months at the behest of committee member Senator Michael Fair (R-District 6), a well-known opponent of teaching evolution.
There are signs that the impasse over South Carolina's science standards is nearing its end. As previously reported, the state board of education voted in March 2006 to reject a proposal from the state's Education Oversight Committee that would have significantly expanded the "critical analysis" language already present in the section of the new state science standards that deal with evolution.
A proposal to direct the South Carolina state board of education to approve only textbooks that "emphasize critical thinking and analysis in each academic content" was rejected by the House Committee on Education and Public Works on May 16, 2006.
A subcommittee of the South Carolina House Committee on Education and Public Works voted 3-2 on April 3, 2006, to approve Senate Bill 114, amended to direct the state board of education to approve only textbooks that "emphasize critical thinking and analysis in each academic content," The State reported (April 4, 2006).
On March 8, 2006, the South Carolina Board of Education voted 11-6 to reject a proposal from the state's Education Oversight Committee that would have significantly expanded the "critical analysis" language already present in the section of the new state science standards that deal with evolution.
According to the Associated Press [Link broken], a South Carolina education subcommittee removed the provision from S 114 that would have established a South Carolina Science Standards Committee to "study standards regarding the teaching of the origin of species; determine whether there is a consensus on the definition of science; [and] determine whether alternatives to evolution as the origin of species should be offered in schools." (For the history and purpose of the provision, see
On December 15, 2004, S 114 was introduced (by prefiling) in the South Carolina Senate and referred to the Committee on Education.