I think scientists and teachers should welcome these bills -- it's a great chance to show why scientists believe what they do and why they do not accept other explanations. The Tennessee scientists write
"These bills misdescribe evolution as scientifically controversial. As scientists whose research involves and is based upon evolution, we affirm -- along with the nation’s leading scientific organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academy of Sciences -- that evolution is a central, unifying, and accepted area of science. The evidence for evolution is overwhelming; there is no scientific evidence for its supposed rivals ("creation science" and "intelligent design") and there is no scientific evidence against it."If the evidence is "overwhelming" it should be a simple and straightforward lesson, right? Teachers could point out what that evidence is and why it's overwhelming, and what is lacking in other explanations.
Sometimes I think the real problem is that too many science teachers aren't qualified and don't themselves know the evidence for what they're teaching, and might actually have to do some research on things they can't copy out of a state-approved syllabus. For example, a 2008 study found that, nationwide, 77% of science teachers (grades 7-12) had majored in their subject; for math teachers it was only 61%.
In Tennessee, just 58% of science teachers had majored in the science subject they taught, one of the lowest proportions in any state.
You want kids to get the evidence for and against manmade climate change? Then show it, and show why alternative explanations fail to explain recent warming. Do the same for evolution and "God" and everything else. And then when administrators and their parents come in to complain, show it to them, too.