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Rise in Anti-Science Education Bills

New legislation has been introduced across the US to alter science education standards, Nature News reports. In particular, these bills target classroom curriculum on evolution and climate change, it adds.

In Florida, Nature News says that a bill recently passed by the state legislature allows county residents to lodge complaints about local curriculum. Public hearings would then weigh whether the curriculum was "accurate, balanced, non-inflammatory, current, free of pornography, … and suited to students' needs." The bill sponsor argues that it isn't anti-science, as it doesn't call out any one subject matter, Nature News adds.

At the same time, it notes that non-binding bills have been passed in Indiana and Alabama that call for academic freedom and that similar bills have been introduced in Oklahoma and South Dakota.

Glenn Branch, the deputy director of the National Center for Science Education, tells Nature News that he's not sure why such anti-science bills are more likely to pass right now, though he says that proponents of the bills may feel emboldened by a US president who questions climate change. However, Branch adds that "[i]t cuts both ways, I think. The opponents of science education may feel newly invigorated — but so do its defenders."

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