“The term ‘alternative facts’ can be at play,” Bill that impacts how science is taught in Oklahoma moves forward

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Back and forth, a measure that appeared to be dead at the state capitol is instead moving forward.

It's a proposal that impacts how science is taught in Oklahoma classrooms.

“This bill allows for alternative views. The term 'alternative facts' can be at play in this bill,” said Bob Melton, STEM Facilitator with Putnam City Public schools.

Science teachers across the state along with several state and national organizations are opposing the bill they said strips local control in the classroom.

Senate Bill 393 allows science teachers the freedom to explore and question scientific theories and doctrines - everything from evolution to creationism.

“Why is just science singled out? Is social studies not open for debate, as well? What about English?” Melton said.

We tried to talk with one of the sponsors of the bill, Senator Josh Brecheen. But, similar to what his office told us back in March, he wasn't available at this time for an interview.

The other author of the bill last week told a committee many teachers complained about not being able to debate current scientific theories.

They wanted to take part in an open discussion that wouldn't be restricted in the classroom.

However, science teachers we spoke with said the bill opens the door to non-science based theories.

“One of our parents said it could very well be that somebody wants to represent Bigfoot as an accurate science theory,” said Elizabeth Allan, Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education.

Allan, a UCO biology professor, said in the end the bill will hurt students needing to pass college entrance or AP exams or even applying for jobs in STEM field.

“It opens the door to allow for inaccurate science to be taught along accurate science,” Allan said.

The bill narrowly passed committee last week 4 to 3.

It now heads to the full House for a vote.

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