Update from South Dakota


South Dakota's Senate Bill 83 — which would, if enacted, allow teachers to teach "the strengths and weaknesses of scientific information" presented in courses aligned with the state education standards — received coverage from the Sioux Falls Argus Leader (January 31, 2016). 

The bill's principal sponsor, Jeff Monroe (R-District 24), told the newspaper that science teachers often take a "unidirectional" approach with regard to the Big Bang and climate change: "In societies those are debates that rage, but in the schools they're taught as fact." 

As NCSE previously reported, Monroe previously sponsored bills that would have allowed teachers to teach "intelligent design" and that identified "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, [and] human cloning" as scientifically controversial.

NCSE's Glenn Branch, however, argued that because the bill prevents educational authorities from controlling teachers who purport to be teaching the weaknesses of scientific theories, it is "a recipe to encourage teachers to go rogue." 

Julie Olson, the president of the South Dakota Science Teachers Association, added that science teachers are not in the need of the protection ostensibly offered by the bill as long as they're presenting theories based on factual evidence.