An Open Letter to Gov. Haslam and the Tennessee Legislature:
As a lifelong resident of the state of Tennessee, educated in public school as well as at a private Baptist college, I am compelled to write and express my deep disappointment and grave concerns over pending legislation, Senate Bill 893, regarding how Science is to be taught and not taught in our state.
Since it was brought forward in 2011, the aims of this law are crystal clear - it seeks to add room in our Science programs for non-scientific information. Our education system - and our young students - requires the strongest support from our Governor, our Legislature, and our communities, but this legislation instead claims that Biology and Science are flawed and mistaken at every level. It assumes controversies exist at their very foundations. It devalues Education itself.
If the state demands we "teach the controversies" regarding Science, then why not demand that the clergy preach about the controversies of their Religion? That would be ridiculous for the state to mandate, wouldn't it? This proposed law is equally ridiculous.
Holding Science accountable to Religious or Social systems will not encourage or nurture Education.
It's worth noting that educators and scientists or biologists across the state did not propose nor support this legislation. Certainly, all our educational curriculums should - and for the most part already do - encourage critical thinking and respectful debate. Do you, Governor Haslam, believe otherwise or have any such proof of a dire lack in our schools? Or do you work instead to increase the level of skill and understanding demanded today in Science, Math, and Technology?
I understand and accept that political landscapes are constantly changing - allowing the ebb and flow of politics to override our Education system can only create errors in critical thinking.
So I encourage you to defeat this measure and to provide a stronger voice for Education and Science in Tennessee.
This legislation stands in stark opposition to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Programs your office has been actively supporting. I feel you have to make a choice, sir, as to which educational approach you support.