SB 55: Academic Freedom Or Anti-Science?

Jan 30, 2017

Supporters of a bill in South Dakota’s Statehouse say it maximizes academic freedom in the classroom, and its opponents say the measure is anti-science. Senate Bill 55 has passed two of the four hurdles to Governor Dennis Daugaard’s desk.

The bill is one sentence long. It says, “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 presented in courses being taught which are aligned with the content standards established pursuant to § 13-3-48.”

Proponents say they want teachers to have protection to talk about strengths and weaknesses of scientific theories in the classroom. Opponents say they already have that. The debate on SB 55 gets murky as stakeholders discuss what additional topics teachers could include, what ramifications those topics may have, and which people should make these decisions in the first place.

SDPB’s Kealey Bultena talks with In The Moment’s Lori Walsh on the latest as the science teaching bill moves out of the SD State Senate and goes up for consideration with State Representatives. Hear from lawmakers and people who testified about the bill during this conversation.