Indiana antiscience resolution progresses

02.24.2017

Indiana's Senate Resolution 17, which targets the teaching of evolution in Indiana's public schools, was passed on a 7-3 vote by the Senate Committee on Education and Career Development on February 22, 2017. The resolution is apparently not yet scheduled for the senate floor.

If passed, SR 17 would ostensibly urge the state department of education "to reinforce support of teachers who choose to teach a diverse curriculum." But evolution is clearly the target. The language of the resolution repeats the so-called Santorum language from the report to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 — "Where topics are taught that may generate controversy (such as biological evolution), that the curriculum should help students to understand the full range of scientific views that exist, why such topics can generate controversy, and how scientific discoveries can profoundly affect society" — and its initial sponsors, Jeff Raatz (R-District 27) and Dennis Kruse (R-District 14), have a history of introducing antievolution legislation in Indiana, as NCSE previously reported. Raatz and Kruse are now joined as sponsors of SR 17 by John Crane (R-District 24). 

Indiana's SR 17 is one of four similar bills introduced in 2017, along with Oklahoma's Senate Bill 393, Texas's House Bill 1485, and South Dakota's Senate Bill 55. It is unique among them, however, in taking the form of a non-binding resolution with no legal force.