Iowa 2009 HF 183

Text as introduced House File 183 - Introduced HOUSE FILE BY ROBERTS Passed House, Date Passed Senate, Date Vote: Ayes Nays Vote: Ayes Nays Approved A BILL FOR An Act relating to the teaching of chemical and biological evolution in school districts and public postsecondary institutions and providing an effective date. BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA: TLSB 1206YH 83 kh/nh/24 PAG LIN Section 1. CITATION == LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS == INTENT. 1. This Act may be cited as the "Evolution Academic Freedom Act". 2. The general assembly finds and declares all of the following: a. That current law does not expressly protect the right of instructors to objectively present scientific information relevant to the full range of scientific views regarding chemical and biological evolution. b. That in many instances instructors have experienced or feared discipline, discrimination, or other adverse consequences as a result of presenting the full range of scientific views regarding chemical and biological evolution. c. That existing law does not expressly protect students from discrimination due to their positions or views regarding biological or chemical evolution. d. That the topic of biological and chemical evolution has generated intense controversy about the rights of instructors and students to hold differing views on those subjects. 3. It is therefore the intent of the general assembly that this Act be construed to expressly protect the affirmative right and freedom of every instructor at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary level to objectively present scientific information relevant to the full range of scientific views regarding biological and chemical evolution in connection with teaching any prescribed curriculum regarding chemical or biological evolution. Sec. 2. NEW SECTION. 256.11C EVOLUTION ACADEMIC FREEDOM. 1. As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires: a. "Scientific information" means germane, current facts, data, and peer=reviewed research specific to the topic of chemical and biological evolution as prescribed in the state's core curriculum for science. b. "Teacher" means the same as defined in section 272.1. 2. A teacher who is employed by a school district may objectively present scientific information relevant to the full range of scientific views regarding biological and chemical evolution in connection with teaching any prescribed curriculum regarding chemical or biological evolution. 3. A teacher who is employed by a school district shall not be disciplined, denied tenure, terminated, or otherwise discriminated against for objectively presenting scientific information relevant to the full range of scientific views regarding biological or chemical evolution in connection with teaching any prescribed curriculum regarding chemical or biological evolution. 4. Elementary and secondary students enrolled in a school district shall be evaluated based upon their understanding of course materials through standard testing procedures. However, students shall not be penalized for subscribing to a particular position or view regarding biological or chemical evolution. 5. The rights and privileges contained in this section shall apply when the subject of biological or chemical evolution is part of a school district's curriculum. This section does not require or encourage any change in the core curriculum adopted by the state board of education pursuant to section 256.7, subsection 26, the core content standards adopted pursuant to section 256.7, subsection 28, or the accreditation standards and curriculum definitions adopted pursuant to section 256.11. 6. This section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion. Sec. 3. NEW SECTION. 261G.1 EVOLUTION ACADEMIC FREEDOM. 1. As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires: a. "Community college" means the same as defined in section 260C.2, subsection 1. b. "Scientific information" means germane, current facts, data, and peer=reviewed research specific to the topic of chemical and biological evolution. c. "State university" means an institution of higher education under the control of the state board of regents. 2. An instructor who is employed by a community college or state university may objectively present scientific information relevant to the full range of scientific views regarding biological and chemical evolution in connection with teaching any prescribed curriculum regarding chemical or biological evolution. 3. An instructor who is employed by a community college or state university shall not be disciplined, denied tenure, terminated, or otherwise discriminated against for objectively presenting scientific information relevant to the full range of scientific views regarding biological or chemical evolution in connection with providing instruction for any prescribed curriculum regarding chemical or biological evolution. 4. Students enrolled in a community college or state university shall be evaluated based upon their understanding of course materials through standard testing procedures. However, students shall not be penalized for subscribing to a particular position or view regarding biological or chemical evolution. 5. The rights and privileges contained in this section shall apply when the subject of biological or chemical evolution is part of the curriculum offered by a community college or state university. This section does not require or encourage any change in curricula on biological or chemical evolution adopted by the board of directors of a community college or the state board of regents. 6. This section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion. Sec. 4. EFFECTIVE DATE. This Act takes effect July 1, 2010. EXPLANATION This bill establishes the "Evolution Academic Freedom Act". The bill includes the general assembly's findings and declarations related to its intent to protect the right and freedom of public school teachers and public postsecondary instructors to objectively present scientific information relevant to the full range of scientific views regarding biological and chemical evolution in connection with teaching any prescribed curriculum regarding chemical or biological evolution. The bill defines "scientific information" to mean germane current facts, data, and peer=reviewed research specific to the topic of chemical and biological evolution. For elementary and secondary schools, the definition is linked to the state's core curriculum for science. Pursuant to the bill, the general assembly finds and declares that current law does not expressly protect the right of instructors to objectively present scientific information; that instructors have experienced or feared discipline, discrimination, or other adverse consequences as a result of presenting the full range of scientific views regarding chemical and biological evolution; that existing law does not expressly protect students from discrimination due to their positions or views regarding biological or chemical evolution; and that the topic has generated intense controversy about the rights of instructors and students to hold differing views. The bill prohibits an instructor from being disciplined, denied tenure, terminated, or otherwise discriminated against for objectively presenting scientific information relevant to the full range of scientific views regarding biological or chemical evolution. The bill requires students to be evaluated based upon their understanding of course materials through standard testing procedures. Students shall not be penalized for subscribing to a particular position or view regarding biological or chemical evolution. The bill takes effect July 1, 2010. LSB 1206YH 83 kh/nh/24.1

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