In 2001 Congress adopted report language in the No Child Left Behind Act Conference Report encouraging educators to teach “the full range of scientific views that exist” on controversial topics “such as biological evolution.” Known as the “Santorum language” (because it was originally proposed by Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania), this statement of congressional science education policy was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.
The Santorum language is not a legal mandate from Congress, but it is a clear endorsement by Congress of the importance of teaching a variety of scientific views about the theory of evolution. This statement was especially intended to guide states as they developed science assessments required by the No Child Left Behind Act.
The following resources provide detailed information about the Santorum language, why it was adopted, and what it means.
- Official printed version of the Santorum report language from the No Child Left Behind Act Conference Report (House Report 107-334, December 2001)
- Congressional letter explaining the purpose and effect of the Santorum language from Rep. Boehner, Sen. Gregg, and Sen. Santorum.
- Why the Santorum Language Should Guide State Science Education Standards, by Bruce Chapman and David DeWolf
- Statements from the Congressional Record on the adoption of the Santorum language.
- Transcript of U.S. Senate debate on original version of Santorum language from the Congressional Record.
- Response to Ken Miller’s erroneous comments on the Santorum language.