Legislation that would allow the teaching of creationism in schools is moving forward in the Alabama and Oklahoma state legislatures.

In late February, the Alabama House Education Policy Committee passed a bill (HB 133) that would allow local boards of education to award credit for religious instruction. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Blaine Galliher (R-District 30). The bill would “authorize local boards of education to include released time religious instruction as an elective course for high school students.” Some critics of the bill fear that this could allow courses that teach creationism to count towards a student’s diploma.

The Oklahoma House of Representatives Common Education Committee approved legislation on 21 February 2012 that would encourage teachers to present the strengths and weakness of “controversial” topics, including evolution and climate change. The bill, HB 1551, was approved by a 9-7 vote of the committee.

HB 1551 was introduced in 2011 by Rep. Sally Kern (R-District 84). Although the bill was rejected by the House Education Committee last year, the measure could be resurrected by request. Rep. Gus Blackwell (R-District 61) made such a request recently, opening the door to the committee’s reconsideration of the legislation.

 


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