State and local-level school officials would be required to develop guidelines for teaching evolution under legislation making its way through the Missouri House.
If passed, school districts would have to, “encourage students to explore scientific questions” regarding the “strengths and weaknesses” of both biological and chemical evolution. The sponsor, State Representative Andrew Koenig (R, Winchester), says House Bill 179 stresses academic freedom.
“It does not mandate curriculum to the teacher," Koenig said. "It’s really up to the school district, and if evolution is gonna be taught, it just allows them to teach the scientific strengths and weaknesses.”
State Representative Jeff Roorda (D, Barnhart) sits on the House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education. He says he’s concerned the bill could open the door to religion being taught in K-12 schools.
“Once we start legislating how teachers teach in the classroom and what theories they can prescribe and which they can’t, it really does open up a Pandora’s Box that I don’t think we want to open," Roorda said.
No one testified against the measure at a hearing conducted Wednesday by the committee, which is expected to vote on the bill at a later date.