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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Bill would ban the teaching of scientific theories in Montana schools

Updated: February 15, 2023 at 9:55 AM MST
This bill was tabled in committee on Feb. 14th and is likely dead.

A bill in the state Legislature seeking to regulate science curriculum in public schools got its first hearing Monday. The legislation’s sponsor says by banning scientific theories, the policy aims to prevent kids from being taught things that aren’t true.

More than 20 people testified against Senate Bill 235, concerned that it could keep teachers from including gravitational theory, evolution and cell theory in curriculum.

Daniel Emrich
Kevin Hudson
Montana Legislature
Daniel Emrich

Mia Taylor is a sophomore at Helena High School. She told the committee, "If we remove scientific theory from science curriculums, what can be taught will be limited. It is the school's job to educate its students."

The bill is sponsored by freshman Republican Senator Daniel Emrich from Great Falls. In his testimony, Emrich said the bill would make sure students are taught what a scientific fact is.

"If we operate on the assumption that a theory is fact, unfortunately, it leads us to asking questions that may be potentially based on false assumptions," Emrich said.

A legal note from legislative staff says the bill could overstep the Board of Public Education’s constitutional authority to oversee schools in the state.

The committee did not take immediate action on the bill.

Answers to your questions — big or small — about anything under the Big Sky.

Ellis Juhlin is MTPR's Rocky Mountain Front reporter. Ellis previously worked as a science reporter at Utah Public Radio and a reporter at Yellowstone Public Radio. She has a Master's Degree in Ecology from Utah State University. She's an average birder and wants you to keep your cat indoors. She has two dogs, one of which is afraid of birds.
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