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Controversial Science Education Bill Defeated by South Dakota Panel

A South Dakota bill that some feared would have allowed teachers to bring nonscientific theories into science classrooms has been defeated.

A House education committee vote Wednesday killed the bill 11-4.

Critics of the bill which read in part,"No teacher may be prohibited from helping students understand, analyze, critique, or review in an objective scientific manner the strengths and weaknesses of scientific information," said it would allow teachers to present alternative theories on topics such as climate change and evolution.

A Republican supporter of the bill, Rep. Chip Campbell, told the Argus Leader the measure would have enhanced classroom discussion.

"In science, it is imperative that we show not only the strengths but also the weaknesses of theories," he said. "Weaknesses, not strengths, are the key to finding the truth."

National Science Teachers Association Executive Director David Evans sent out a letter urging NSTA members to lobby against the bill.

In that letter, he wrote, "As science teachers, it is our responsibility to provide students with quality science education that is not compromised with pseudoscience or by political influences."


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