Thanks to a new state law, any nut job -- er, I mean concerned citizen -- in Florida can challenge what is taught in public schools, from evolution to global warming to two plus two equals four.
The law, which went into effect July 1 and not April 1, which would have been more appropriate, says any Florida resident can file a complaint about textbooks or curriculum they deem unsavory, wrong or just plain of the devil. Then, “An ‘unbiased hearing officer,’ not employed by the school district, would determine if a complaint has merit, requiring schools to take any controversial books or material out of the classroom,” CNN reported. “Previously, only parents could file complaints, which were then heard by a school board.”
As with most things, not everyone agrees this is a swell idea.
The Florida Citizens for Science, a group that says it defends “good science,’ especially in the classroom, called it “bad news all around.”
“People who crusade against basic, established science concepts such as evolution and climate change will have the green light to bog down the textbook selection process on the local level and bully school boards into compromises that will negatively impact science education,” the group wrote in a blog post.
I agree with the Florida Citizens for Science that it’s a bad law, but only for this reason: It does not go far enough. Let me repeat the last part in capital letters adding exclamation points, which is what nut jobs -- er, I mean concerned citizens -- do when they are making a point. Also, I am standing on a soapbox and shaking my fist angrily while I type this, which is difficult but not impossible.
IT DOES NOT GO FAR ENOUGH!!
If people who do not have kids in schools in Florida can complain about what kids are taught in schools in Florida, why can’t anyone who has ever been to Florida complain about what kids are taught in schools in Florida?
It only seems fair, if not wildly ridiculous like the new law itself.
I’ve visited the Sunshine State a dozen or so times over the years and dutifully supported the local economies by purchasing copious amounts of beer, buying Disney tickets and tipping well for table dances. I demand a say in what Florida kids are taught in schools.
Wait, I meant to write I DEMAND A SAY IN WHAT FLORIDA KIDS ARE TAUGHT IN SCHOOLS!!
And when I get it, there are going to be some big changes. First, no more of this evolution nonsense. It’s just a theory, like gravity or, more than likely, a hoax, like the moon landing.
And global warming? What a bunch of malarkey. I accidentally locked myself out of the house in February when I stepped outside in my boxers to get the mail, something that will make a climate-change denier out of any rational, pantsless person at 28 degrees in about two minutes. So, that’s out.
Also, I have grave concerns about recess. If children are still playing kickball, it must stop immediately. On the playground in third grade, I was briefly distracted by a fellow student’s hilarious Fonzie impression and was struck directly in the face with a large, red rubber ball propelled like a missile by the toe of kid whose leg strength should have resulted in at least a marginal NFL career.
It resulted in being laughed at by a girl with no front teeth and a trip to the nurse’s office.
Therefore, I demand no more kickball, as well as a ban on Fonzie impressions.
I look forward in the near future to a new law on school challenges amending the new law on school challenges and trust the reasonable, rational legislators of Florida to do the right thing.
My fellow nut jobs -- er, I mean concerned citizens -- and I LOOK FORWARD TO OUR NEXT VISIT!!
Scott Hollifield is editor/GM of The McDowell News in Marion, N.C. and a humor columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.