Governor Bill Haslam allowed Tennessee's House Bill 368 to become law without his signature on April 10, 2012, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal (April 10, 2012). The law encourages teachers to present the "scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses" of topics that arouse "debate and disputation" such as "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning."I'm not sure if they have it exactly right, however. Take a look at the summary of the bill:
This bill prohibits the state board of education and any public elementary or secondary school governing authority, director of schools, school system administrator, or principal or administrator from prohibiting any teacher in a public school system of this state from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught, such as evolution and global warming.Unless I am missing something (and that's always completely possible) the bill isn't necessarily encouraging teachers to (as others have put it) "teach the controversy" as much as it prohibits their administrators from stopping them if they decided to do so. (I guess that could be "encouraging" but my point is that it's a little more subtle than that.)
So if Mrs Dellert (my science teacher when I was in High School) decided to spend a week or so presenting the "science" that questions evolution, she would be free to do so in the state of Tennessee.
Even though that science doesn't exist.
She'd be free to move from science to anti-science in a science class and remain blissfully unperturbed by any school administrator or bureaucrat who'd want her to, you know, teach science in a science class.
This is what happens when a theocratically tinged legislature seeks to decide scientific questions. This is what's going on in Tennessee.
(By the way, I don't know what became of Mrs Dellert - she was a fine chemistry teacher and looking back I wish I'd been a better student.)