By Jack Cooper, ProgressVA Intern
I was a little taken aback while looking over HB207 proposed by Delegate Dickie Bell (R-20). This bill would require the Board of Education along with local school boards and teaching staff to create an overall positive environment for elementary and secondary school students that “encourages students to explore scientific questions” and “develop critical thinking skills” in the class room. So far, this doesn’t seem like such a bad idea until you get towards the end of the bill. But the bill would also “allow teachers to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in science class”.
In reality, this legislation would protect teachers who question the broad scientific consensus of theories such as evolution and climate control, and allow them to introduce non-scientific or debunked research in the classroom. This leaves me worried about quality of education our next generation will receive if this bill is passed. A proper education is vital in order to ensure economic success. Without it, the youth of today will be at risk of developing inadequate decision making skills and will be ill-prepared in general.
This ill-conceived bill could prove detrimental to future students and society as a whole if it were to be implemented. Can you imagine a future where government officials and business executives make important decisions that could impact our day to day lives based on debunked ideas and a poor education? Bills like these put at risk the quality of education we provide our youth. Teaching children to be skeptical of scientific theories will only handicap them in further down the line in their academic careers. This bill has been referred to Committee on Education and will hopefully be killed before it reaches the floor and causes any harm to our school systems.