IBJNews

Indiana senator seeks 'truth in education' law

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Almost a year after their last debate, lawmakers will again take up how the origins of humanity are taught in Indiana's classrooms.

Senate Education Committee chairman Dennis Kruse said he would not introduce a creationism measure again this year, choosing a lighter tack instead. His new proposal, he said, would encourage students to question a broad range of topics in the classroom.

"I would refer to it as truth in education, so students could question what teachers are teaching them and try to make sure it's true what they're teaching," Kruse said.

Kruse led an effort during the 2012 session to allow teaching of creationism. He said Tuesday the new proposal doesn't specify that religion should be taught or evolution questioned and said he is waiting on a draft from the state's legislative services agency.

In Tennessee, lawmakers approved such a measure — over the governor's objections — which encourages teachers and students to dissect science broadly, stretching beyond topics like evolution to others, including climate change and stem cell research. Opponents of it dubbed it the "monkey bill," in reference to the landmark Scopes Monkey Trial a century earlier.

Josh Youngkin, program officer for public policy and legal affairs for the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, is helping Kruse and lawmakers in other states promote the measure.

"It frees teachers to teach both sides of scientific controversies in an objective fashion," said Youngkin, noting that students could press teachers to present facts and evidence for statements about issues like the shared origins of mammals.

"The teacher would not be barred from saying 'Let's look at both sides of the evidence and you guys can basically make a judgment,' rather than just accepting passively or memorizing by rote these facts and stating back these arguments on a test which would eventually determine where you go to college," he said.

Youngkin said he met with Kruse earlier this year and advised the senator to approach the measure as an "academic freedom" proposal. He cited a 1987 Supreme Court decision that found teaching creationism on a parallel footing with evolution constituted a violation of the First Amendment's establishment clause.

Opponents of the last session's creationism proposal amended it to incorporated origin-of-life theories from multiple religions.

House Speaker Brian Bosma shelved the bill, saying it appeared unconstitutional and could land the state in costly and lengthy legal battles.

Creationism would clearly land the state in court, but it's hard to tell exactly what Kruse's proposal would do without seeing the actual bill language, said Ken Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana. He testified against the creationism measure last year.

"Creationism is not science. The Supreme Court has held the argument that the world was created in seven days is not science; it's religion," Falk said. "Evolution is scientific fact. Teachers can certainly say other people have certain beliefs, but they cannot be taught as fact."

ADVERTISEMENT

  • allahu akbar
    Under Sharia law and the Qur’an God took "six ayums" to create the "seven heavens and earth" in a literal 24 hours. Anything outside of this is an abomination
  • Thanks, Kruse!
    Dennis Kruse is one of the reasons I'm hopeful the GOP Supermajority will be ended in 2014. These guys just can't stop themselves from trying to advance their pet causes no matter how stupid. Look for more of this kind of worthless legislation during the next two years. Hopefully, Hoosier voters will wise up by then and send Kruse and his ilk packing.
  • havaryc the
    Idiots should not be allowed to waste time promoting religious beliefs in the legislature. Hopefully this misguided man will decide to camp in Illinois as has been the tactic of our legislature in the past. Please run to Illinois and pout and make it permanent.
  • What a waste of time!
    We should not be surprised that this idiot is allowed to waste the legislature's valuable time promoting his religious beliefs. Hopefully if he does not get his way, he will go camp in Illinois as was done before. Permanently if we are lucky
  • Unbelievable
    I am so NOT proud to be from Dekalb county where Mr. Kruse resides. What a silly proposal.
  • Penalties for Frivolous Bills
    Just as the courts have adopted penalties for waging frivolous lawsuits - may we please remove neanderthal representatives who waste taxpayer $$ waging ridiculous, unnecessary and embarrassing legislative gibberish?
  • Focus boys.....
    Can we vote to opt out of representation......it would be much less costly and harmful to society!

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

ADVERTISEMENT