Bill Text: TX HB1485 | 2017-2018 | 85th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to academic freedom for public school teachers providing science instruction.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 2-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2017-05-02 - Left pending in committee [HB1485 Detail]

Download: Texas-2017-HB1485-Introduced.html
  85R8796 KKA-F
 
  By: Swanson H.B. No. 1485
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to academic freedom for public school teachers providing
  science instruction.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that:
               (1)  an important purpose of science education is to
  inform students about scientific evidence and help students develop
  critical thinking skills necessary to become intelligent,
  productive, and scientifically informed citizens;
               (2)  the teaching of some scientific subjects required
  to be taught under the curriculum framework developed by the State
  Board of Education may cause controversy, including climate change,
  biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, and human
  cloning;
               (3)  some teachers may be unsure of expectations
  concerning how to present information when controversy arises
  concerning a scientific subject; and
               (4)  the protection of a teacher's academic freedom is
  necessary to enable the teacher to provide effective instruction
  that serves the purpose stated in Subdivision (1) of this section.
         SECTION 2.  Subchapter A, Chapter 28, Education Code, is
  amended by adding Section 28.0162 to read as follows:
         Sec. 28.0162.  ACADEMIC FREEDOM FOR TEACHERS. (a) The State
  Board of Education, school district boards of trustees, and school
  district administrators, including school principals, shall
  endeavor to:
               (1)  create an environment within public elementary and
  secondary schools that encourages students to:
                     (A)  explore scientific questions;
                     (B)  learn about scientific evidence;
                     (C)  develop critical thinking skills; and
                     (D)  respond appropriately and respectfully to
  differences of opinion about scientific subjects required to be
  taught under the curriculum framework developed by the State Board
  of Education; and
               (2)  assist teachers in finding effective ways to
  present scientific subjects required to be taught under the
  curriculum framework developed by the State Board of Education that
  may cause controversy.
         (b)  The State Board of Education, a school district board of
  trustees, or a school district administrator, including a school
  principal, may not prohibit a teacher from helping students
  understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner
  the scientific strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific
  theories included in a course taught in accordance with the
  curriculum framework developed by the State Board of Education.
         (c)  This section applies only to teaching scientific
  subjects included within the curriculum framework developed by the
  State Board of Education. This section may not be construed to
  promote:
               (1)  any religious or nonreligious doctrine; or
               (2)  discrimination for or against religion or
  irreligion or a particular set of religious beliefs or nonbeliefs. 
         SECTION 3.  (a) Not later than August 1, 2017, the Texas
  Education Agency shall notify the State Board of Education and the
  board of trustees and superintendent of each school district in
  this state of the provisions of this Act.
         (b)  Not later than August 15, 2017, each superintendent
  shall notify each district administrator, including a school
  principal, and district teacher of the provisions of this Act.
         SECTION 4.  This Act applies beginning with the 2017-2018
  school year.
         SECTION 5.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2017.
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