Maryland, 2006 - HB 1531

State: Maryland Date introduced: February 16, 2006 Main sponsor: Delegate Burns Bill Number: HB 1531 Bill Title: Academic Freedom Act Current Status: Failed in Ways and Means Committee

Text as introduced UNOFFICIAL COPY OF HOUSE BILL 1531 F1 6lr3378 ____________________________________________________________________________________ By: Delegate Burns Introduced and read first time: February 16, 2006 Assigned to: Rules and Executive Nominations _____________________________________________________________________________________ A BILL ENTITLED AN ACT concerning Education - Public Schools and Institutions of Higher Education – Academic Freedom Acts FOR the purpose of establishing the Teachers Academic Freedom Act and the Faculty Academic Freedom Act; providing for the application of the Acts; specifying certain faculty and teacher rights and protections relating to the expression of scientific views in applicable curricula and courses of learning; specifying protections relating to employment and against discrimination with regard to the presentation of certain information; specifying student protections relating to the expression of certain views; specifying that the Acts shall be construed in a certain manner; and generally relating to the Teachers Academic Freedom Act and the Faculty Academic Freedom Act. BY adding to Article - Education Section 6-115; and 11-901 to be under the new subtitle "Subtitle 9. Faculty Academic Freedom Act" Annotated Code of Maryland (2004 Replacement Volume and 2005 Supplement) Preamble WHEREAS, The General Assembly finds that existing law does not expressly protect the right of teachers identified by the United States Supreme Court in Edwards v. Aguillard, 107 S. Ct. 2573 (1987), to present scientific critiques of prevailing scientific theories; and WHEREAS, The General Assembly further finds that existing law does not expressly protect the right of students to hold a position on any views; and WHEREAS, It is the intent of this Act to protect those rights; now, therefore, SECTION 1. BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF MARYLAND, That the Laws of Maryland read as follows: Article - Education 6-115. (A) THIS SECTION APPLIES TO A TEACHER AT A PUBLIC SCHOOL IN THIS STATE. (B) A TEACHER SHALL HAVE THE AFFIRMATIVE RIGHT AND FREEDOM TO PRESENT SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION TO THE FULL RANGE OF SCIENTIFIC VIEWS IN ANY CURRICULA OR COURSE OF LEARNING. (C) (1) PROVIDED THE COURSE OF STUDY FOR SCIENCE HAS BEEN DETERMINED AS APPROPRIATE TO THE GRADE AND SUBJECT ASSIGNMENT BY THE STATE BOARD, A TEACHER MAY NOT BE TERMINATED, DISCIPLINED, DENIED TENURE, OR OTHERWISE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST FOR PRESENTING SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION RELATING TO THE FULL RANGE OF SCIENTIFIC VIEWS IN ANY CURRICULA OR COURSE OF LEARNING, INCLUDING INTELLIGENT DESIGN. (2) WHEN PROVIDING SUPPORTING EVIDENCE ON THE THEORY OF INTELLIGENT DESIGN, A TEACHER MAY NOT STRESS ANY PARTICULAR DENOMINATION, SECTARIAN, OR RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE OR BELIEF. (D) A TEACHER: (1) SHALL EVALUATE A STUDENT ON THE BASIS OF THE STUDENT'S UNDERSTANDING OF COURSE MATERIALS; AND (2) MAY NOT PENALIZE A STUDENT IN ANY WAY BECAUSE THE STUDENT MAY SUBSCRIBE TO A PARTICULAR POSITION ON ANY VIEWS. (E) THE RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES PRESCRIBED UNDER THIS SECTION APPLY WHEN TOPICS ARE TAUGHT THAT MAY GENERATE CONTROVERSY, INCLUDING BIOLOGICAL OR CHEMICAL ORIGINS. (F) THE PROTECTIONS PROVIDED UNDER THIS SECTION MAY NOT BE RESTRICTED BY ANY METAPHYSICAL OR RELIGIOUS IMPLICATIONS OF A VIEW, AS LONG AS THE VIEW IS DEFENSIBLE AND JUSTIFIED BY EMPIRICAL SCIENCE AND OBSERVATION OF THE NATURAL WORLD. (G) THIS SECTION MAY NOT BE CONSTRUED TO: (1) REQUIRE OR ENCOURAGE A CHANGE IN STATE CURRICULUM STANDARDS FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS; (2) PROTECT AS SCIENTIFIC A VIEW THAT LACKS PUBLISHED OR EMPIRICAL OR OBSERVATIONAL SUPPORT OR THAT HAS BEEN SOUNDLY REFUTED BY EMPIRICAL OR OBSERVATIONAL SCIENCE IN PUBLISHED SCIENTIFIC DEBATE; (3) PROMOTE ANY RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE; OR (4) PROMOTE DISCRIMINATION FOR OR AGAINST A PARTICULAR SET OF RELIGIOUS BELIEFS OR PROMOTE DISCRIMINATION FOR OR AGAINST RELIGION OR NONRELIGION. (H) THIS SECTION MAY BE CITED AS THE TEACHERS ACADEMIC FREEDOM ACT. SUBTITLE 9. FACULTY ACADEMIC FREEDOM ACT. 11-901. (A) THIS SECTION APPLIES TO A FACULTY MEMBER AT A PUBLIC INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE STATE. (B) A FACULTY MEMBER SHALL HAVE THE AFFIRMATIVE RIGHT AND FREEDOM TO PRESENT SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION TO THE FULL RANGE OF SCIENTIFIC VIEWS IN ANY CURRICULA OR COURSE OF LEARNING. (C) (1) A FACULTY MEMBER MAY NOT BE TERMINATED, DISCIPLINED, DENIED TENURE, OR OTHERWISE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST FOR PRESENTING SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION RELATING TO THE FULL RANGE OF SCIENTIFIC VIEWS IN ANY CURRICULA OR COURSE OF LEARNING, INCLUDING INTELLIGENT DESIGN. (2) WHEN PROVIDING SUPPORTING EVIDENCE ON THE THEORY OF INTELLIGENT DESIGN, A FACULTY MEMBER MAY NOT STRESS ANY PARTICULAR DENOMINATION, SECTARIAN, OR RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE OR BELIEF. (D) A FACULTY MEMBER: (1) SHALL EVALUATE A STUDENT ON THE BASIS OF THE STUDENT'S UNDERSTANDING OF COURSE MATERIALS; AND (2) MAY NOT PENALIZE A STUDENT IN ANY WAY BECAUSE THE STUDENT MAY SUBSCRIBE TO A PARTICULAR POSITION ON ANY VIEWS. (E) THE RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES PRESCRIBED UNDER THIS SECTION APPLY WHEN TOPICS ARE TAUGHT THAT MAY GENERATE CONTROVERSY, INCLUDING BIOLOGICAL OR CHEMICAL ORIGINS. (F) THE PROTECTIONS PROVIDED UNDER THIS SECTION MAY NOT BE RESTRICTED BY ANY METAPHYSICAL OR RELIGIOUS IMPLICATIONS OF A VIEW, AS LONG AS THE VIEW IS DEFENSIBLE FROM AND JUSTIFIED BY EMPIRICAL SCIENCE AND OBSERVATION OF THE NATURAL WORLD. (G) THIS SECTION MAY NOT BE CONSTRUED TO: (1) PRESCRIBE THE CURRICULAR CONTENT OF ANY COURSE AT A PUBLIC INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE STATE; (2) PROTECT AS SCIENTIFIC A VIEW THAT LACKS PUBLISHED OR EMPIRICAL OR OBSERVATIONAL SUPPORT OR THAT HAS BEEN SOUNDLY REFUTED BY EMPIRICAL OR OBSERVATIONAL SCIENCE IN PUBLISHED SCIENTIFIC DEBATE; (3) PROMOTE ANY RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE; OR (4) PROMOTE DISCRIMINATION FOR OR AGAINST A PARTICULAR SET OF RELIGIOUS BELIEFS OR PROMOTE DISCRIMINATION FOR OR AGAINST RELIGION OR NONRELIGION. (H) THIS SUBTITLE MAY BE CITED AS THE FACULTY ACADEMIC FREEDOM ACT. SECTION 2. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That this Act shall take effect October 1, 2006.

Fiscal and policy note

HB 1531

Department of Legislative Services

Maryland General Assembly

2006 Session

FISCAL AND POLICY NOTE

House Bill 1531 (Delegate Burns)

Ways and Means

Education - Public Schools and Institutions of Higher Education - Academic

Freedom Acts

This bill provides that teachers at public elementary and secondary schools and public institutions of higher education have the affirmative right and freedom to present scientific information to the full range of scientific views in any curriculum or course of learning. When providing evidence of the theory of intelligent design, teachers may not stress any particular denomination, sectarian, or religious doctrine or belief. The bill also prohibits teachers from being terminated, disciplined, denied tenure, or otherwise discriminated against for presenting a full range of scientific views. Teachers must evaluate students on the basis of their understanding of course material and may not penalize students because of their views. These protections for teachers and students may not be restricted by any metaphysical or religious implications of the views.

Fiscal Summary

State Effect: Four-year public institutions of higher education could meet any conditions of the bill that are not already being met with existing resources.

Local Effect: Local school systems and community colleges could meet any conditions of the bill that are not already being met with existing resources.

Small Business Effect: None.

Analysis

Current Law: Within the guidelines established by the State Board of Education, local boards of education set curricula and policies for the public schools under their jurisdictions. A public school teacher’s certification must be revoked for: (1) a guilty or nolo contendere plea, or a probation before judgment sentence, for a violent crime or a crime involving child abuse or neglect; or (2) a dismissal or resignation following allegations of child sexual abuse. A public school teacher’s certification must be either suspended or revoked for: (1) a guilty or nolo contendere plea, or a probation before judgment sentence, for a crime involving contributing to the delinquency of a minor, moral turpitude if the offense bears directly on the individual’s fitness to teach, or drugs; (2) willfully and knowingly misrepresenting information on an application for certification; (3) fraudulently or deceptively obtaining a certificate; (4) knowingly failing to report suspected child abuse; (5) a dismissal or resignation following allegations of misconduct involving a student; or (6) having a certificate suspended or revoked in another state for a cause that is grounds for suspension or revocation in Maryland. The governing boards of public institutions of higher education establish policies for the institutions. For example, policies adopted by the University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents state that faculty members have the responsibility to encourage free and honest inquiry and expression on the part of students. In addition, faculty members are required to assign grades and evaluate students fairly and without prejudice or bias. Acceptable reasons for firing tenured or tenure-track faculty are limited to moral turpitude, professional or scholarly misconduct, incompetence, or willful neglect of duty. There is nothing in State law or regulations that expressly requires, permits, or prohibits the teaching or discussion of intelligent design.

Background: In November 2004, the Dover Area School District announced that ninth grade biology teachers in the district would be required to read a statement that offers intelligent design as a competing theory to Darwin’s theory of evolution. Parents of students in the Dover Area School District challenged the constitutional validity of the statement on the grounds that it constitutes an establishment of religion. The federal District Court ruled with the plaintiffs, concluding that intelligent design “cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents.” (Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al., December 20, 2005).

Additional Information

Prior Introductions: None.

Cross File: None.

Information Source(s): Maryland State Department of Education, University System of Maryland, Maryland Higher Education Commission, Department of Legislative Services Fiscal Note History:

ncs/rhh First Reader - March 21, 2006

Analysis by: Mark W. Collins Direct Inquiries to:

(410) 946-5510

(301) 970-5510

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