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AAAS Urges Oklahoma to Teach Only Science in Public School Science Classes
AAAS is urging Governor Brad Henry of Oklahoma to veto a bill containing a "Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act" as an amendment. The bill, which has passed the Oklahoma Senate and House, ostensibly seeks to protect students who want to express religious viewpoints during class and in homework assignments.
But in a 14 May letter to Henry, AAAS CEO Alan I. Leshner noted that "this could apply to science class as well," and could undermine the teaching of the science of evolution and other topics that some students believe could conflict with their religious beliefs.
"Teachers already face a myriad of challenges in the classroom," wrote Leshner, who is also executive publisher of the journal Science. "Why add yet another? Furthermore, why approve a bill that may well invite constitutional challenges as religion is introduced in public science classrooms?"
Students who learn about evolution and other essential concepts will be better prepared to compete for high-skill jobs in an increasingly high-tech world economy, according to Leshner. "I urge you to protect the future of science education and technology-based industry in Oklahoma and veto this bill," he wrote to Henry.
15 May 2008