Ben Carson Wants Federal Control of Higher Education

If you’d like to be popular at a GOP event these days, don’t wear an Education Department lapel pin. As they have for decades now, conservative presidential candidates these days are falling all over themselves in their threats to eliminate the Education Department. But not Ben Carson! The uber-conservative neurosurgeon has something he wants the Ed Dept. to do.

SAGLRROILYBYGTH are tired of hearing this, but I’ve pointed out in my recent book and in the pages of Time.com that conservatives have not always hated the idea of federal influence in education. Back in the 1920s, cultural conservatives wanted the federal government to pump money into educational programs that would make America more conservative. Some conservative intellectuals these days have made similar noises—if the Ed Dept. can push conservative programs, some conservatives think, then conservatives need to get over their antipathy.

Dr. Ben Carson’s plan for the Ed Dept. goes even further. As he told Glenn Beck, Carson wants the federal government to seize control of higher education.

Here’s the plan: Carson hopes the Ed Dept. will “de-fund” colleges that ban conservative speakers. The department, Carson explained, should “monitor our institutions of higher education for extreme political bias and deny federal funding if it exists” [about 3:41 of the interview].

It’s not clear exactly what Dr. Carson thinks such defunding will mean. Nor can I tell how “extreme political bias” would be defined. But such quibbles largely miss the point.

For us at ILYBYGTH, the remarkable take-away from Carson’s candor is that he wants to assert sweeping new powers for the Education Department. This is a departure from both the past fifty years of mainstream conservative thinking and from the past hundred-fifty years of Seventh-day Adventist tradition.

Adventists, after all, have never been supporters of government power. Not even to push society in ways they might prefer. As liberal pundits have become eager to point out, Carson’s rhetoric about strong Americanism is a marked departure from SDA tradition. These days, Dr. Carson displays a weirdly non-SDA penchant for a powerful, intrusive government.

It’s certainly the case with Carson’s recent comments about the Education Department. I can’t imagine that SDA universities such as Loma Linda or Pacific Union College would endorse more federal control of their activities.

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Bloomberg Bashes College Liberal Orthodoxy

It’s not news when conservative intellectuals complain about liberal orthodoxy at America’s colleges.  But recently former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told Harvard’s commencement audience that colleges needed to include more conservative voices.

The conservative intellectual world has long been aghast at the purported liberal bias of American higher education.  After all, it was in many ways William F. Buckley Jr.’s enfant-terrible critique of Yale that launched the post-war conservative fusion movement.  More recently, as we’ve noted in these pages, conservatives in Colorado managed to insert a prominent conservative into the faculty of that state’s flagship university.  And conservatives have offered prescriptions to heal America’s blighted leftist ivory towers.

In this commencement season, the world of higher education has been aflutter with commencement cancellations.  Rutgers pulled the plug on Condoleeza Rice, Brandeis said thanks but no thanks to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Asuza Pacific University cancelled Charles Murray’s talk.

Mayor Bloomberg warned that universities must welcome a real intellectual diversity.  Chanting and protesting to shut out conservative voices, Bloomberg warned, threatened the very purpose of the university.  “In the 1950s,” Bloomberg told Harvard,

the right wing was attempting to repress left-wing ideas.  Today on many college campuses it is liberals trying to repress conservative ideas even as conservative faculty members are at risk of becoming an endangered species.

Not surprisingly, conservatives have embraced Bloomberg’s theme.  Richard D. Land of the Southern Evangelical Seminary agreed heartily in the pages of the Christian Post.  Bloomberg, Land enthused,

has done the nation a great service by speaking bold truth to intolerant power.

Liberal intolerance was prevalent when I was a Princeton undergraduate in the 60s. It has become far worse in the intervening decades. Too many students are being brainwashed and indoctrinated, instead of educated, in our nation’s colleges. Unless such dangerous trends are reversed, it will increasingly imperil everyone’s liberties – personal, civil, and religious.

Similarly, Glenn Beck gushed, “you have to respect his willingness to speak so definitively about the intolerant culture at far too many universities and colleges.”

As I argue in my upcoming book, conservatives have worried about the ideological slant of America’s elite colleges throughout the twentieth century.  Now they have a prominent ally in former mayor Bloomberg.

What Mormons Want Evangelicals to Learn in College

College is about fulfilling God’s mission.

That’s what Glenn Beck told the crowd at Liberty University the other day.  As Jonathan Merritt notes in Religious News Service, it is remarkable historically that Beck, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints—the Mormons—was invited to preach to the evangelical community of Liberty University.  Traditionally, as we saw in the presidential candidacy of LDS member Mitt Romney, evangelicals have looked askance at Mormonism.

As Merritt reports, Beck did not hide his LDS beliefs.  Rather, he flouted them, displaying Mormon relics such as Joseph Smith’s watch.

But that was not the only remarkable part of Beck’s talk.  Beck offered Liberty students a vision of the purpose of higher education.  You may have come here to help you get a job, Beck told the college crowd, but that’s not really what your education is for.  “You are at this university for a reason,” Beck reported.  What is God’s reason for higher education?  God did not say, Beck insisted, “I’m gonna send you down because you need to be . . . an accountant.”  [26:56]

The purpose of a university education, Beck told the audience, was not merely professional.  “You came to this university thinking, maybe,

I have to have an education to get a job.  You need this education from Liberty University because of your only true job.  The purpose that you were sent here for.  To magnify Him.  To bring Him to others.  To do what it is that you’re supposed to do.  To preserve liberty, the liberty of all mankind.

According to Beck, that sort of education is the true aim of education, whether students are LDS, Baptists, Mennonites, or whatever.  Life is a mission from God.  Higher education is simply further training for that mission.

Of course, Liberty University itself has a more ecumenical attitude toward the true purpose of education.  On Liberty’s website this morning, for instance, the casual reader is quickly reassured that Liberty certainly wants to train “Champions for Christ.”  But another of the four circulating mottos declares that Liberty “helps students and alumni find the right job or internship.”

Glenn Beck may be confident about the real purpose of Christian higher education.  But evangelical college students seem to want their college to walk both sides of the line.

 

Who Owns the Children?

Do parents own their children?  Does the government?

A recent MSNBC promo has put this perennial conservative issue back in the headlines.  Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, and others have denounced the sentiments of the ad.

Yesterday conservative pundit Glenn Beck accused liberal-leaning MSNBC of finally exposing their “radical goals” to steal children from parents.  The plan all along, Beck argues, has been for “progressives” to seize government control of the most intimate family decisions.

The specific MSNBC promo to which Beck objected contained this ideological smoking gun:

We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children. Your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children. So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.

This thirty-second promo by Melissa Harris-Perry contains the proof that liberals want to take children away from their parents and raise them in dysfunctional public schools.  His fears, Beck insisted, had been proven right by this “terrifying” video.  Though he recognized he might be called a “conspiracy theorist,” Beck insisted that this short video contained all the proof he needed of a vast left-wing plot to steal children into indoctrination centers.

Sarah Palin chimed in too, tweeting that MSNBC’s notion that children don’t belong to parents was “Unflippingbelievable.”

Rush Limbaugh predicted that soon children could be forced to mow everyone’s lawns, not just their own.  This notion, Limbaugh concluded, was as “old as communist genocide.”

The idea that “progressives” have set their sights on sneakily seizing control of America’s children has long ideological roots.

Back in the 1970s, for example, the influential conservative activists Mel and Norma Gabler asked fundamental questions about the nature of the textbooks under consideration in their home state of Texas:

To WHOM does the child belong?  IF students now belong to the State, these books are appropriate.  IF students still belong to parents, these books have absolutely no place in Texas schools.  The author clearly states that these books are designed to change the behavior, values, and concepts of the child, based on the premise that the teacher is NOT to instruct, but to moderate, and to ‘heal.’ [Gablers, What Are They Teaching Our Children, pg. 119]

Similarly, Connie Marshner, affiliated at the time with the Heritage Foundation, argued in 1978, “A parent’s right to decide the direction of his child’s life is a sovereign right, as long as the child is subject to his parent.  Educators have no business creating dissatisfaction with and rebellion against parental wishes” (Connie Marshner, Blackboard Tyranny, pg. 38).

But such notions go back much further in the conservative consciousness.  One leading conservative activist in 1951 Pasadena warned a state senate investigating committee that the root cause of public school problems was “a definite elimination of parental authority, undermining of parental influence.”

And back in the 1920s, the US Supreme Court ruled that parents had a right to educate their children in private schools if they chose.  The reason, the court ruled in Pierce vs. Society of Sisters (1925), is that “The child is not the mere creature of the state.”

Beck’s, Palin’s, and Limbaugh’s outrage are nothing new.  Conservative activists have long been convinced of a far-reaching plot to substitute state control of children for that of parents.

 

Get In Line, David Barton

What history books should American school children read?

Most recently, the history darling-in-chief among many conservatives has been Wallbuilders’ David BartonGlenn Beck, Mike Huckabee, and other conservative politicians have praised Barton’s vision of American history.

For those who haven’t followed the story lately, here’s a brief synopsis: Barton claims to be the best historian around, the only one honest and dedicated enough to discover the real Christian intention of most of the Founding Fathers.  His latest book, The Jefferson Lies, came under brutal attack for its historical inaccuracies and misrepresentations.  The accusations came not only from partisan leftists, but also from conservative Christian critics.  As a result, the original publisher pulled the book from store shelves.  Glenn Beck’s publishing arm quickly picked up the title.

Image source: Ebay

Image source: Ebay

In the research for my current book about conservative educational activism in the twentieth century, I came across an eerily similar story from the 1920s.  In that decade, the American Legion resolved to sponsor a two-volume school history.  Too many of the books on the market, the Legion concluded in 1922, “contain misrepresentation of American history.”  Legion leaders contacted Charles F. Horne, a professor of English at City College of New York.  Horne agreed to author the books, to be called The Story of Our American People.

This textbook, the Legion’s special committee in charge of the textbook project declared in 1925, would build “character.”  Too often, the Legion leaders lamented, young people “grow up ignorant or anarchistic or otherwise ‘destructive.’”  There was no chance, the Legion wrote, that such youth, taught that their government deserved nothing but contempt, could mature into healthy, productive citizens.  Most commercial history textbooks only tore down young people’s confidence in their society and government.  A good history textbook could fix this.  The proper teaching of history, the Legion argued, must teach, despite “occasional mistakes,” that American history has been “so glorious that its proper study must inspire any child to patriotism.”

When a preliminary draft emerged in 1925, it earned some instant praise from conservatives who had long fretted about the deplorable state of most history textbooks.  Walter M. Pierce, for example, in 1926 the Klan-backed governor of Oregon, dashed off a letter to Professor Horne.  The new volumes, Governor Pierce gushed, represented “the finest history of early America that we have ever had.”

But other early readers took a different view.  Writing in the pages of Harper’s Magazine, historian Harold Underwood Faulkner blasted Horne’s books as “perverted American history.”  No professional historian, Faulkner sniffed, would have produced such drivel.  The books represented nothing more than a “bombastic eulogy of all things American.” (Harold Underwood Faulkner, “Perverted American History,” Harper’s, Feb. 1926, pp. 337-346. [Subscription only.]) They could not even be criticized on historical grounds, Faulkner claimed, since the books did not really constitute a history.  Worse, the books were intended to “produce a bigoted and stereotyped nationalism . . . a deplorable subservience to the rule of ignorance.”

Such criticism from snobby historians might not have doomed Horne’s books.  But an internal committee of the American Legion itself also found the books “filled with incomplete and inaccurate statements.”  Instead of inspiring American youth to embrace a patriotic vision of America’s past, the Legion investigators concluded, such shoddy history could only mislead youth and heap ridicule on the American Legion.

The Legion abrogated its contract with Horne.  They agreed not to receive any revenue from the book project and withdrew their endorsement.

As a result, the books never made the impact on schools Legion activists had hoped for.  Even among Legionnaires, the 1920s textbook project quickly became a politely forgotten story.  In 1949, for example, one Legionnaire wrote in the pages of The American Legion Magazine that the Legion ought to sponsor its own patriotic textbooks.  Such a textbook series, this writer insisted—apparently utterly innocent of the history of the Horne histories—could replace the overabundance of boring pink textbooks with “the rich and meaty story of American history.” [See John Dixon, “What’s Wrong with American History?” The American Legion Magazine (May, 1949): 40.]

So get in line, Mr. Barton.  You are far from the first to attempt to impose sectarian history on America.  Just as the fiercest and most effective critics of the Horne books were the Legion investigators themselves, so the conservative Christian criticism of Barton’s books helped isolate and neutralize Barton’s influence.

Glenn Beck’s Educational Utopia

“A place of real learning.”

What will life be like when Glenn Beck is finally made Emperor of the Universe?  More interesting for ILYBYGTH, what will education be like?

Beck recently outlined his vision of paradise.  As usual with Beck, the plan is short on details but expansive in its claims.  In short, it seems Glenn Beck’s perfect educational system would have three important components:

1.) apprenticeships;

2.) homeschooling;

3.) intellectual inoculation.

Image source: The Blaze

Image source: The Blaze

Beck described his vision of utopia in his plans for a new theme park, Independence, USA.  Like Walt Disney’s early visions, Beck wants a new kind of park, one that embodies Beck’s vision of proper American culture and society.

Parts of that vision include a radical de-schooling.  As Beck promoted it, this park would include a chance for students to learn by doing.  He asks (video 1—3:25),

“Does everybody have to go to an Ivy League university?  Or can we teach craft, can we teach business, can we teach things?  Are there people willing to teach through apprenticeships? . . . If it’s not possible, then America’s golden streets are dead.”

More profoundly, Beck insists, “Schools are a thing of the past the way we’ve designed them.”  For those who would live inside the boundaries of Beck’s Potemkin, children would learn in “neighborhood” clusters.  Children would be freed from the artificial constraints of institutional education, freed to learn by downloading content directly from the archives in Independence USA.

For those who insist on attending traditional schools, maybe even Ivy League colleges, Beck promises a handy inoculant.  Families should bring their college-age children to Independence for a week of authentic education.  Young people as well as old could receive a thorough training in Beck’s vision of American history and culture.  Such a week, Beck insists, will protect young people exposed to the lies and distortions in mainstream higher education.  Working with David Barton, Beck will teach young people, presumably, that the United States was created as an explicitly Christian nation, and that such Christian principles ought to remain at the center of American public life.  As Beck puts it (video 2—9:11),

“Before you send your kids to college, you come with us.  And you come here.  You spend a week.  You have a kid that’s going into college, you spend a week with us.  We’re going to tell them exactly, we will show them the truth, we will tell that what they’re going to try to do.  And we will deprogram them.  Every summer if you care.”

One is tempted to ask if any of this makes sense, as several commenters have done (see here and here for examples).  In this video, he offers only the vaguest sketches of his utopia, several aspects of which sound at best contradictory and at worst totalitarian.  More intriguing is the combination Beck demonstrates of a fairly radical anti-institutionalism with a keen, combative patriotism.  Beck combines an aggressive distrust of some of the central institutions of American life with an in-your-face defense of the American way of life.  Schools and colleges can’t be trusted, Beck insists, yet American traditions and culture are the strongest in the history of the world.  Young people need to be freed and protected from mainstream education, yet the theme-park plans—if they are to succeed at all—must appeal to large numbers of presumably mainstream folk.

For students of conservative education thinking in the United States, Beck’s paradoxes offer a unique window into the complex attitudes toward education among many American conservatives.  Beck, of course, is enough of an odd duck that his nostrums must not be taken as representative.  Yet he is popular enough that we can assume his fantasies resonate with at least a large number of his followers.

School, in this vision, has become something intellectually dangerous.  Young people, at the very least, need an intense counter-training, an intellectual inoculation against the false notions peddled in colleges.  If possible, in this plan, children should be freed from the outmoded walls of brick-and-mortar schools entirely.  Such institutions, Beck implies, have outlasted their usefulness.  Schools, Beck argues, have become the problem, not the solution.  Yet unlike the unschoolers of the cultural left, such as Ivan Illich, Paul Goodman, or John Holt, Beck’s deschooling promises a return to his vision of authentic American values of hard work, thrift, patriotism and religion.

Required Reading: Shields and the Civility of the New Right

Another reason to spend time at Mere Orthodoxy: Matthew Lee Anderson today shares his interview with Jon Shields.  Shields is the author of The Democratic Virtues of the Christian Right.  Even if you don’t have time to spend with the whole book, it is worth taking a few minutes to read this interview. 

Shields elaborates on the thesis of his book, viz., that the incivility of the Christian Right has been overplayed by journalists looking for a good story.  Using interviews and a participant-observer method, Shields found that such headline-grabbing fury did not fairly represent the movement.  As Shields notes in this interview,

If one looks at Christian radio personalities or at direct mailings or at fringe organizations, belligerency is quite common. The media picks up on these latter examples partly because they are somewhat more visible, partly because they make for more interesting stories, and partly because of the sociology of the newsroom itself. So the media has identified real incivility in the Christian Right.

Of course, such distortion takes place all over the political and theological spectrum.  In my research into the history of conservative educational activism, I find that conservative writers and pundits also relied on the tactic of the hyperbolic example.  For example, the early Soviet-friendly statements of John Dewey or George Counts are often used by conservatives to demonstrate that all of progressive education is nothing but a communist plot. 

It seems to return us to the central dilemma of America’s ballyhooed culture wars.  Even though most people–even people politically, culturally, and theologically committed on issues such as abortion or gay rights–prefer to act in civil, “small-d” democratic ways, the fevered punditry of voices on each side dominate the headlines.  One religion-bashing quip by Richard Dawkins, or one minority-bashing pronouncement by Glenn Beck, does more to define the two sides than thousands of people working quietly and politely to promote their vision of America.

 

In the News: Fundamentalist Religion and the “Liberal Media?”

Fundamentalist America has long had a somewhat uncertain relationship with mass media.  On one hand, lots of prominent conservatives make their mark by bashing the biases they see in what they call the “liberal media.”  For a recent example, check out William Kristol’s challenge to the New York Times regarding its treatment of Andrew Breitbart.  On the other hand, conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and the late Andrew Breitbart himself have relied on their mastery of mass media in order to win whatever influence they may have.

Conservative religious folks usually complain the loudest about media bias.  Two years ago, for instance, a comment by Fox News’ Brit Hume that golfer Tiger Woods ought to embrace Christianity evoked a teapot tempest of discussions about the anti-Christian bias in most media outlets.

Thanks to Walter Russell Mead at Via Meadia, we come across a new study by scholars at the University of Southern California and the University of Akron.  This survey suggests that there may be more to conservative religious folks’ complaints than just Fox News sensationalism.  This study surveyed 2000 media consumers and 800 producers.  Some of the findings seem to confirm an anti-religious bias among most journalists.  More precisely, they seem to confirm a NON-religious bias.  Among the reporters, only 20% described themselves as “very knowledgeable” about religion.  Also, the category of white evangelical Protestants was notably underrepresented among the reporters surveyed.  Reporters tended to feel that the most important part of religion was its impact on politics (48.1%), while fewer media consumers (37.0%) saw that as the most important religious topic.  Also, the general public tended to think there was far too much sensationalism in religious coverage (66.5%), as opposed to reporters (29.8%).

The survey broke down media producers into categories including “Focused,” “Frequent,” “Infrequent,” and “Non-producers” of religion coverage.  In terms of religious identity, only a small minority of the reporters surveyed (5.1%) called themselves white evangelical Protestants, compared to 20.8% white Catholic, 34.9% white mainline Protestant, and 12.8% unaffiliated.  This doesn’t match the percentage of the general population.  According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, evangelicals make up just over a quarter of the US population.  If we look a little closer, even among the self-identified white evangelical Protestant reporters, there is a distinct skew toward religious coverage.  White evangelicals made up just over 16% of the “focused” religion reporters, and only 2.1% of the “non-producers.”

What does it all mean?  First of all, as with any such survey, the results mustn’t be overdone.  The fact that a minority of journalists who took part in this survey called themselves “very knowledgeable” about religion doesn’t mean that they are biased against religion, much less against a certain type of religion.  But the fact that white evangelical Protestants are notably underrepresented among this sample suggests that there is a trend among reporters away from evangelical Protestantism.  Especially when the responses are broken out into more detail.  Even among the small minority of evangelical reporters, the percentage of such reporters who are not specifically focused on religious issues shrinks to near-nothingness.  One way to look at this might be to think that evangelicals—when they become journalists at all—tend to restrict themselves to specifically religious issues.  Just as with other minority groups, evangelical reporters might find themselves pigeonholed into just one aspect of their public identity.  In this case, evangelical reporters might be considered to be legitimate only for reporting on religious issues, not for sports, education, politics, or foreign affairs.
Does it mean that the “mainstream media” are unfair to Fundamentalist America?  From this limited evidence, of course, it’s impossible to say for sure.  However, this survey does suggest that reporters tend to look different from the rest of America.  They tend to be less knowledgeable about religious traditions than the rest of America. They tend to be less interested in spirituality than the rest of America.  And they tend to be less often from a white evangelical Protestant background than the rest of America.

As with any sort of bias, it is much easier to be inadvertently biased about groups different from ourselves.  It is even easier to be biased when we know very little about such groups.

Fundamentalist America complains that most reporters don’t “get” them.  This study seems to support that complaint.

IN THE NEWS: A SOCIALIST JESUS AND A NEW EDUCATIONAL REALITY FOR NEW HAMPSHIRE

–Thanks to LC

Live Free or Die!  So every New Hampshire license plate proclaims, and a new law in the Granite State looks like it will move New Hampshire residents one step closer to making that decision.

A controversy arose in December, 2010, when two New Hampshire parents pulled their son out of his Bedford High School.  Their complaint was that the boy had been assigned Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed in a personal finance class.  The parents complained that the book called Jesus Christ “a wine-guzzling vagrant and precocious socialist.”

I haven’t read the book, but for many people, them’s fightin words.  Predictably, the controversy drew national attention.  Glenn Beck’s website agreed with the New Hampshire parent that the school district made a terrible curricular decision.  The Huffington Post, not surprisingly, ran an article much more favorable to the school district and to Ehrenreich.

There’s not much in the story, in fact, that should raise eyebrows among ILYBYGTH readers.  As we are well aware, parents often complain about the curricular materials assigned in schools.  Conservative pundits encourage careful scrutiny of reading materials they suspect of anti-religious, anti-patriotic, anti-capitalist materials.

The best publicized case of this nature in the past generation was arguably Mozert v. Hawkins County [Tennessee] Board of Education.  In this case from the mid-1980s, conservative Christian parents objected to the content of their county’s reading series by the textbook publishers Holt, Rinehart and Winston.  The parents tried to convince a series of courts that the series promoted a vicious religious system, one they called “secular humanism.”  In addition, the parents claimed the books promoted a grab-bag of pernicious notions, such as witchcraft, extra-sensory perception, pacifism, and non-traditional gender roles.

There is nothing unusual about conservative parents objecting to the curricular materials their children use in schools.  What makes the Bedford, NH case so extraordinary is that it has led to a remarkable new state law.  Thanks to the publicity from the controversy, the New Hampshire state legislature passed House Bill 542, then recently overrode Governor Lynch’s veto.

According to the new law, in effect as of the recent veto override, parents may demand alternative course materials to any material they find “objectionable.”  The parent or guardian must pay for the new alternative materials, but the school district must locate them.  The parents may also remain anonymous and they do not have to reveal their reasons for objecting to the material in question.

This is new.  This is remarkable.  I have spent a good deal of my professional time in the past few years researching the history of conservative educational activism.  Across the course of the twentieth century, conservatives have had remarkable success in keeping America’s schools traditional.  They have challenged “progressive” pedagogy, the teaching of evolution, the restriction of traditional Protestant religion from public schools, and the removal of traditional patriotic themes from public schools.

Throughout all that time, however, even in the 1920s heyday of anti-evolution state legislation, there has not been to my knowledge a state law that allows parents to object to any material they may find offensive for any reason.  Parents have not had the nearly unlimited right expressed in this new New Hampshire law to demand alternative curricular materials without explanation or justification.

When Governor John Lynch vetoed this bill in July, 2011, he noted that the bill would be “disruptive” and that it would be “difficult for school districts to administer.”  More compelling, Governor Lynch decried the bill’s tendency to push “teachers to go to the lowest common denominator in selecting material, in order to avoid ‘objections’ and the disruption it may cause their classrooms.”

What effect will this remarkable new law have in New Hampshire?  My guess is: not much.  The new law will generally fall into the very wide category of laws that are on the books but unknown and unenforced.  That, after all, was the fate of the anti-evolution laws from the 1920s, until the US Supreme Court ruled them unconstitutional in the late 1960s.  However, like the case of anti-evolution laws, even in states that did not have such laws, a large percentage of parents and teachers will be influenced by anti-evolution public sentiment.  One large survey of evolution education in 1942 found that eight percent of biology teachers thought evolution education was illegal in their states, even when they taught in states that had not passed such a ban.

In short, this law will not change behavior too drastically.  But that is NOT because teachers and school districts will continue to teach controversial material.  Rather, the law itself will not change behavior since so many teachers and school districts are already bowed down by the weight of perceived public opinion.