INDIANAPOLIS | The issue of teaching creationism in Indiana science classrooms will be on the legislative agenda when the General Assembly convenes in January — it just won't be called that.
State Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, who sponsored last session's failed attempt at creationism instruction, said Tuesday he won't introduce similar legislation this session allowing schools to teach the origin myths of multiple religions. Instead, Kruse said he's "working on a different approach to the subject" focused on "truth in education."
Specifically, Kruse wants to empower students to challenge their teachers "to make sure what is being taught is true."
"If a student thinks something isn't true then they could question the teacher, and the teacher would have to come up with some better research to support what they're teaching is true or not true," said Kruse, chairman of the Senate Education Committee.
Kruse said under his plan, each school corporation would be allowed to determine the topics of questions students could ask and the types of evidence considered truth.
"It's going to be written in a kind of a broad way," Kruse said.
Tennessee enacted a similar law earlier this year permitting teachers to review with their students "the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories" on evolution, the origin of life, global warming and human cloning.
In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a Louisiana law requiring the teaching of "creation science" alongside evolution, the scientifically accepted understanding of the development of life, because creationism advances a particular religion.
Kruse's creationism proposal last session sought to get around that restriction by allowing schools to teach the origin of life beliefs of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Scientology.
The Republican-controlled Indiana Senate approved the measure 28-22, but it died in committee in the Republican-controlled House.