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Lawmaker Encourages Science Teachers To Go Beyond Traditional Theories
Proposed legislation would put more power in the hands of teachers.
“It provides academic freedom for both teachers and students,” Said Representative Gus Blackwell.
Representative Blackwell wrote House Bill 1674 after a study found many educators are afraid to teach anything that could be considered controversial.
“What we're wanting to do is allow a teacher to teach both strength and weaknesses of a scientific theory so students don't just get fed what's politically correct at the time.”
While the bill would allow free discussion in the classroom, Representative Blackwell says there are limitations on what could be taught.
“It has to be scientific information not just a philosophical, religious or personal belief.”
The measure prohibits the state and local districts from requiring teachers focus only on traditional scientific theories.
“I think what he's trying to do is facilitate free discussions in classrooms,” said Joel Robison, Chief of Staff for the Oklahoma Department of Education.
Robison said he encourages open discussion but students will still be held accountable for state curriculum.
“At the end of the day the test is going to set to the standards and the students are going to be required to respond appropriately.”
Robison worries the bill will cause controversy in the classroom.
“Bills like this have a tendency to divide people.”
Many parents we spoke with are on board for the bill.
“You should have an open mind and be able to learn about everything and not just what the state requires you to learn,” said Kelsie Gentry.
But others think its gives teachers too much freedom.
“I think they need to stick with what they have. It worked for me and I’m 30 years old,” said Glenn Banks.
Posted: Tuesday, February 26 2013, 10:41 PM CST
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
Okla. court upholds life sentence in uncle's death
May 17, 2013 21:34 GMT
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- An Oklahoma appeals court has upheld the life prison sentence of a 38-year-old man who was convicted of first-degree murder for shooting his uncle to death.
The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals handed down the decision Friday in the case of Patrick Shane Yargee. A jury in Tulsa County found Yargee guilty in the 2010 shooting death of 48-year-old David Willie Harjo.
Authorities alleged that Yargee shot Harjo eight times in a residence in northern Tulsa. Reports filed in the case indicate that the two men had an argument involving a woman before the shooting.
The five-judge court unanimously rejected Yargee's claims that he was denied a fair trial.
Yargee's defense attorney, Stuart Southerland of the Tulsa County Public Defender's Office, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.
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