On the other hand the bills would create problems for administrators and teachers, said Eric Feaver, president of the Montana Education Association and the Montana Federation of Teachers.
"It affects the supervisors of the schools," said Feaver, because they would not be able to stop the teaching of religion disguised as science. "Teachers who teach creationism would be immune to punishment." That basically undermines school supervisors, he said.
In Montana, HB 183 reflects the same "academic freedom" approach, and was introduced by newly sworn-in legislator Clayton Fiscus, a realtor and high school graduate.
"We believe the bill is, on its face, unconstitutional," said Feaver, who will be present with science education advocates for the bill's first hearing on Jan. 25. We are going to rise in opposition."
A federal court ruled in 2005 that the teaching of intelligent design was in violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Since that time, efforts to undermine public school science have been forced to attempt the "academic freedom" subterfuge, explained Eugenie C. Scott, executive director of the NCSE.
Most of these new bills will likely die early in legislative sessions, explained Rosenau, because they are rarely considered of great importance or worth the very vocal opposition they engender.