A new bill has been introduced in the Missouri General Assembly that would require schools to give advance warning to parents that evolution was going to be taught in their child’s science class. The Kansas City Star reports that under House Bill 1472, introduced by Republican Rep. Rick Brattin, parents would then be allowed to opt their children out of the lessons. Should the proposed legislation become law, schools would also need to provide parents with the “basic content” of the lessons on evolution.
The introduction of the bill has many critics crying foul, arguing that evolution by natural selection is the foundation of modern biology.
David Evans, the executive director for the National Science Teachers Association, told the Star, “Evolution by natural selection is the unifying principle in the study of biology,” he said. “Would you want to pull your child out of class if you didn’t like grammar?”
Evans believes that allowing children to be pulled from class during lessons on evolution would make it more difficult for American students to keep pace with other students internationally.
Brattin has defended his bill, telling KCTV, "What my bill would do is it would allow parents to opt out of natural selection teaching," he said. "It would not prohibit the child from going through biology from learning about cell structure, DNA and the building blocks of life.”
"Our schools basically mandate that we teach one side," Brattin said. "It is an indoctrination because it is not objective approach.”
Some parents agree. Brendan Eastwood, told KCTV, "Evolution is not taught in the Bible so it shouldn't be taught in the class," he said. "Even if I had to spend some time in jail I wouldn't subject my kids to that nonsense.”
Eastwood’s children are grown and he admits he never had to make the choice.
"They didn't teach evolution in the early 90s...that I know of," he said. "Otherwise they wouldn't have been in school.”
Brattin has filed three similar bills in the past, all of which failed. HB 1472 has not been scheduled for discussion in the General Assembly, according the Riverfront Times.