The Santorum Amendment was an amendment to the 2001 education funding bill which became known as the No Child Left Behind Act, proposed by former Republican United States Senator Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania, which promotes the teaching of intelligent design while questioning the academic standing of evolution in U.S. public schools. Though the amendment only survives in modified form in the Bill's Conference Report and does not carry the weight of law, as one of the Discovery Institute intelligent design campaigns it became a cornerstone in the intelligent design movement's "Teach the Controversy" campaign.
The origin of the amendment can be traced back to 2000, when leading intelligent design (ID) proponents through the Discovery Institute, a conservative Christian think tank that is the hub of the intelligent design movement, held a congressional briefing in Washington, D.C., to promote their agenda to lawmakers. Sen. Rick Santorum was one of intelligent design's most vocal supporters on Capitol Hill.
One result of this briefing was that in 2001 Senator Santorum proposed incorporating pro-intelligent design language, crafted in part by the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, into the No Child Left Behind bill. It portrayed evolution as generating "much continuing controversy" and not widely accepted, using the Discovery Institute's Teach The Controversy method.
In proposing the amendment, Santorum addressed the Congress:
This is an amendment that is a sense of the Senate. It is a sense of the Senate that deals with the subject of intellectual freedom with respect to the teaching of science in the classroom, in primary and secondary education. It is a sense of the Senate that does not try to dictate curriculum to anybody; quite the contrary, it says there should be freedom to discuss and air good scientific debate within the classroom. In fact, students will do better and will learn more if there is this intellectual freedom to discuss. I will read this sense of the Senate. It is simply two sentences—frankly, two rather innocuous sentences—that hopefully this Senate will embrace: "It is the sense of the Senate that—
Santorum then went on to quote David DeWolf, a Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, as how the Institute's agenda was justified and would benefit students.
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