Senate Bill 96 clears another hurdle |

Senate Bill 96 clears another hurdle

Dale Thompson

Of the Record staff

Rep. Jim Ferrin, R-Orem presented Senate Bill 96, Policy Relating to the Origins of Life, in a House committee meeting on Wednesday.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Chris Buttars requires schools to include alternatives to Darwin’s theory in their curriculum. The committee approved the bill by a vote of 7 to 6.

If the full House votes for the bill it will pass through legislature and await Governor Jon M. Huntsman Jr.’s approval.

Some critics of the bill feel that it is a thinly veiled attempt to bring religious beliefs into the classroom. But the main concern of the Park City School Board is that it usurps local control.

"I believe that the legislature is stepping into grounds that should be dealt with by local school boards. I don’t think it’s something the legislature should be dealing with," said PCSB member Vern Christensen.

He wants control to remain in the hands of school boards because each district has different needs.

"It should reflect the children and the expectations in that area," said Christensen of the curriculum. "Each demographic breakdown will be a little different. The needs of the kids in Park City, and the expectations are quite different from (those in other districts)."

Christensen is optimistic that even if the House passes the bill, it won’t get much further.

"There’s a possibility that it could pass but I think if it does it’s got a long uphill battle that will come along with that," he said.

For him, the bottom line is that the legislature shouldn’t be dictating curriculum.

"I think when the legislature starts getting into curriculum, they’re stepping over bounds," he said.

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