Victory in Collier County, Florida

06.20.2018

"The Collier County School Board voted 3-2 on Monday [June 18, 2018] to adopt a new batch of science textbooks after residents filed objections to more than a dozen of them," according to the Naples Daily News (June 19, 2018).

The objections were filed pursuant to a 2017 law (PDF) that, 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."

In Collier County, according to the Naples Daily News, "[t]he overall theme of the objections was a lack of balance and context in references to evolution and climate change and the treatment of those topics as fact rather than theory." The meeting lasted five hours, "the vast majority of which was spent hearing from objectors [Michael] Mogil, [Keith] Flaugh and [Joseph] Doyle, none of whom have children attending Collier public schools."

Similar objections have been filed elsewhere in Florida, including in Brevard, Martin, and Nassau counties, but the Collier County school board's vote was particularly significant because the law was vigorously supported by groups based in Collier County whose members acknowledged that they objected to the treatment of evolution and climate change, among other topics, in textbooks used in the public schools. 

On Florida Citizens for Science's blog (June 19, 2017), Brandon Haught, himself a science teacher, reported wide support for the integrity of science education at the meeting: "Collier County isn't actually a seething nest of creationists and climate change deniers."