Republican legislators in four states have introduced five bills so far this year that would allow teachers to teach creationism alongside the theory of evolution.
South Dakota Republicans introduced a Senate bill on Wednesday that would that would forbid school boards or administrators from acting to prohibit teachers from “providing instruction on intelligent design or other related topics.”
The broadly worded statute clearly violates federal law, according to the head of a science education advocacy group.
"A federal court already ruled in 2005 that teaching 'intelligent design' in the public schools is unconstitutional, so (Senate Bill) 112 is a recipe for disaster," said Ann Reid, executive director of the National Center for Science Education. "If enacted, school districts are going to find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place — and they'll wind up in court."
The bill is the fifth such measure introduced this month alone that would allow creationism to be taught, the group said.
Virginia's broadly written measure encourages teachers to present scientific controversies and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of a scientific theory without interference from school officials.
Similar measures in Oklahoma and Missouri would encourage teachers with "idiosyncratic opinions to teach anything they pleased," the NCSE said.
A House bill in Missouri would mandate equal class time for "intelligent design" alongside science instruction in public schools, including introductory courses at colleges and universities.
[Teacher instructs students in biology class via Shutterstock]