Michigan 2008 SB 1361

State: Michigan Date introduced: April 30, 2008 Bill Number: SB 1361 Bill Title: Academic Freedom Law Current Status: No committee action before legislative session ended

Text as introduced SENATE BILL No. 1361 June 3, 2008, Introduced by Senators HARDIMAN, GARCIA, JANSEN, CROPSEY and KUIPERS and referred to the Committee on Education. A bill to amend 1976 PA 451, entitled "The revised school code," (MCL 380.1 to 380.1852) by adding section 1292. THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT: SEC. 1292. (1) THE LEGISLATURE 1 UNDERSTANDS THAT AN IMPORTANT PURPOSE OF SCIENCE EDUCATION IS TO INFORM STUDENTS ABOUT SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE AND TO HELP STUDENTS DEVELOP CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS THEY NEED IN ORDER TO BECOME INTELLIGENT, PRODUCTIVE, AND SCIENTIFICALLY INFORMED CITIZENS. THE LEGISLATURE FURTHER UNDERSTANDS THAT THE TEACHING OF SOME SCIENTIFIC SUBJECTS, SUCH AS BIOLOGICAL EVOLUTION, THE CHEMICAL ORIGINS OF LIFE, HUMAN IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE, AND HUMAN CLONING, CAN CAUSE CONTROVERSY AND THAT SOME TEACHERS MAY BE UNSURE OF THE EXPECTATIONS CONCERNING HOW THEY SHOULD PRESENT INFORMATION ON SUCH SUBJECTS. THIS SECTION IS INTENDED TO PROVIDE CLARIFICATION 1 IN THESE MATTERS. (2) THE STATE BOARD, THE BOARD OF A SCHOOL DISTRICT OR INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL DISTRICT, THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF A PUBLIC SCHOOL ACADEMY, A LOCAL SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT, A SCHOOL RINCIPAL, AND ANY OTHER PUBLIC SCHOOL OFFICIAL OR ADMINISTRATOR SHALL ENDEAVOR TO CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT WITHIN PUBLIC ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS THAT ENCOURAGES PUPILS TO EXPLORE SCIENTIFIC QUESTIONS, LEARN ABOUT SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE, DEVELOP CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS, AND RESPOND APPROPRIATELY AND RESPECTFULLY TO DIFFERENCES OF OPINION ABOUT CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES. THESE EDUCATIONAL AUTHORITIES ALSO SHALL ENDEAVOR TO ASSIST TEACHERS TO FIND MORE EFFECTIVE WAYS TO PRESENT THE SCIENCE CURRICULUM IN INSTANCES WHERE THAT CURRICULUM ADDRESSES SCIENTIFIC CONTROVERSIES. TOWARD THIS END, THESE EDUCATIONAL AUTHORITIES SHALL ALLOW TEACHERS TO HELP PUPILS UNDERSTAND, ANALYZE, CRITIQUE, AND REVIEW IN AN OBJECTIVE MANNER THE SCIENTIFIC STRENGTHS AND SCIENTIFIC WEAKNESSES OF EXISTING SCIENTIFIC THEORIES PERTINENT TO THE COURSE BEING TAUGHT. (3) THE STATE BOARD, THE BOARD OF A SCHOOL DISTRICT OR INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL DISTRICT, THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF A PUBLIC SCHOOL ACADEMY, A LOCAL SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT, A SCHOOL PRINCIPAL, OR ANY OTHER PUBLIC SCHOOL OFFICIAL OR ADMINISTRATOR SHALL NOT PROHIBIT ANY TEACHER IN A PUBLIC SCHOOL IN THIS STATE FROM HELPING A PUPIL TO UNDERSTAND, ANALYZE, CRITIQUE, AND REVIEW IN AN OBJECTIVE MANNER THE SCIENTIFIC STRENGTHS AND SCIENTIFIC WEAKNESSES OF EXISTING SCIENTIFIC THEORIES PERTINENT TO THE COURSE BEING TAUGHT. (4) THIS SECTION ONLY 1 PROTECTS THE TEACHING OF SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION, AND THIS SECTION SHALL NOT BE CONSTRUED TO PROMOTE ANY RELIGIOUS OR NONRELIGIOUS DOCTRINE, PROMOTE DISCRIMINATION FOR OR AGAINST A PARTICULAR SET OF RELIGIOUS BELIEFS OR NONBELIEFS, OR PROMOTE DISCRIMINATION FOR OR AGAINST RELIGION OR NONRELIGION. (5) NOT LATER THAN THE START OF THE 2008-2009 SCHOOL YEAR, THE DEPARTMENT SHALL NOTIFY THE SUPERINTENDENT OR OTHER CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIAL OF EACH SCHOOL DISTRICT, INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL DISTRICT, PUBLIC SCHOOL ACADEMY, OR OTHER PUBLIC SCHOOL ABOUT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION. EACH OF THESE SCHOOL OFFICIALS SHALL THEN DISSEMINATE TO ALL EMPLOYEES WITHIN HIS OR HER SCHOOL OR SCHOOL SYSTEM A COPY OF THIS SECTION. (6) THIS SECTION SHALL BE KNOWN AS THE "ACADEMIC FREEDOM LAW".

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