One sure sign of a coordinated, ALEC-lead effort is the fact that Colorado's state legislature introduced the ALEC model on the same day as did Oklahoma's. The two states, it's worth noting, share a border on Oklahoma's panhandle.
On Jan. 18, 2013, eight representatives and four senators introduced HB 13-1089, coining the bills the "Academic Freedom Acts."
Paralleling the language in the ALEC model and the Oklahoma bill, the HB 13-1089 aims to "Inform students about scientific evidence and to help students develop critical thinking skills," also recognizing that the teaching of the concept global warming "can cause controversy." [Pols emphasis]
One of the senators co-sponsoring the bill, Rep. Scott Renfroe (R-13) is an ALEC dues-paying member. He's also attended at least one ALEC meeting paid for by Colorado taxpayers, according to the CMD's "Buying Influence" report…
The GOP's 2013 legislative wish tour continues, as the Fort Collins Coloradoan's Patrick Malone reports:
Controversial classroom discussions about creationism versus evolution, global warming and human cloning would be encouraged under legislation proposed by a Republican lawmaker from Northern Colorado.
The bill’s sponsor, freshman state Rep. Steve Humphrey, R-Severance, insists his intention is not to add religious dogma to the curriculum.
“I think that’s a common concern: Is this some sort of back door for getting creationism in the curriculum?” he said. “That’s not my goal. That’s not what this does.”
Except, well, that more or less is exactly what the bill does:
The Academic Freedom Act, House Bill 1089, would direct teachers in public schools and colleges to create an environment that encourages students to intelligently and respectfully explore scientific questions and learn about scientific evidence related to biological and chemical evolution, global warming and human cloning. Rep. Perry Buck, R-Windsor, is among the Republicans who have signed on as co-sponsors supporting the proposed legislation…
Colorado’s current state content standards for instruction delve into the science of evolution, but do not discuss creationism. [Pols emphasis]
As Malone of the Coloradoan continues, bill sponsor Rep. Steve Humphrey doesn't want you to call his bill an "attack on evolution," but just a way to "foster a culture of tolerance" for students whose views on certain matters of science may be "out of the mainstream." The text of the bill begins with a legislative finding that "the teaching of some scientific subjects, such as biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning, can cause controversy." The bill instructs school boards and teachers to "respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues." The bill identifies "biological and chemical evolution, global warming, and human cloning" as types of "controversial issues" that might be addressed.
In the case of evolution, this bill very clearly carves out protection for nonscientific religious dogma in science class. The bill claims that it is not intended to "promote" religious doctrine, but in the case of evolution, the only real dissent to scientific consensus is religious. "Creation science" devotees don't like hearing that, but it's true.
Setting aside the free-wheeling ethical and spiritual debate over human cloning, the other "controversial issue" mentioned in this bill is "global warming." And again, outside a narrowing segment of talk-radio propagandized deniers and oil industry employees, the scientific and public opinion consensus on human-caused climate change is growing and is broadly expected continue to solidify as the effects become increasingly undeniable.
In all such cases of so-called "controversial issues" whose discussion in Colorado classrooms is a certainty, what's needed is not legislation giving increasingly fringe views false equivalency. In fact, with the exception of a small number of ignorant students (and parents) who deserve to have their feelings hurt for being ignorant in an academic setting, "affirmative action" for faith-based nonscience in science class is a really bad idea.
Pardon us for being more blunt than the House Education Committee is likely to be when they kill this bill.