The latest from Florida

11.28.2017

The effects of Florida's new law making it easier for creationists and climate change deniers to harass their local school districts are already manifesting, according to a report from the Associated Press (November 18, 2017).

Enacted in June 2017, the law (PDF), as NCSE previously reported, allows any county resident — not just parents as previously — to challenge instructional materials used in the public schools, and requires the school districts to establish a formal process to hear such complaints, including appointing an "unbiased and qualified hearing officer" not "an employee or agent of the school district."

The Associated Press sent public records requests to all sixty-seven of the state's school districts, asking for complaints filed during 2017. "Seven reported receiving at least one," including a complaint in Brevard County that elementary school social studies textbooks are engaged in "blatant indoctrination" by asserting that global warming is caused by human activity, and a complaint in Nassau County challenging the teaching of evolution there.

The president of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents described the new law as "cumbersome" and unnecessary, according to the Associated Press, while "Brandon Haught, spokesman for Florida Citizens for Science, which opposed the bill, said his group is prepared to fight any challenges made against the teaching of evolution and climate change, which nearly all biologists and climatologists agree are proven facts." 

A recent post (November 27, 2017) by Haught at Florida Citizens for Science's blog details the current challenges to science education in Florida and describes what concerned Floridians can do to help.