NCSE Needs Help to Defend Science Education in Mississippi

As you will see from the message below, the National Center for Science Education needs the help of Mississippians to protect science education in our state. HB 25 was probably only the first step in a series of coordinated attacks on reality-based education in our state. I am going to contact them today and make sure I'm on their mailing list.

Dear NCSE supporter,

Hello! I'm a staffer from the National Center for Science Education. I'm writing to you because you've shown considerable interest in defending good science education in the past. In the near future we will be starting an email list to discuss threats to Mississippi science education, and to help coordinate responses. We would appreciate your involvement if you have time and interest.

As you probably know, state representative Gary Chism has introduced House Bill 25, which would require Mississippi public school textbooks to carry an antievolution "disclaimer" similar to that mandated in Alabama.

House Education Committee chairman Cecil Brown has told concerned citizens that he expects the bill to die in his committee; this has been the fate of several other anti-evolution bills over the last few years. However, Rep. Chism claims to be "testing the waters" for yet another bill next year, which will support the teaching of "the strengths and weaknesses of evolutionary theory."

Moreover, Mississippi lawmakers this winter have introduced no less than four identical copies of the "Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act" (such as HB 159 and SB 2054) in each chamber of the legislature.

These bills do not specifically target evolution or science education, but are likely to make it more difficult to evaluate the academic work ofstudents who plead religious motivations.

Similar bills in other states have attracted concern from science teachers' organizations. In this legislative climate, the House Education Committee may find it more difficult to guard against attacks on good science education.

If you would like to be on our mailing list, please let me know. And if you intend to write or speak in defense of teaching evolution, we would be happy to assist you in any way we can.

Anton Mates
Public Information Project, National Center for Science Education 420 40th
St. #2 Oakland, CA 94709-2509