Monday, May 06, 2013

Louisiana Chooses Badly, Again

According to the New Orlenans Times-Picayune, the bill to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act has failed to get out of committee.  Lauren McGaughy writes:
The Science Act allows teachers to introduce "supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials" into the classroom. These materials are meant "to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner," according to the law.

While the Act specifically prohibits materials that promote religious doctrine, opponents of the legislation say the supplemental materials allowance gives teachers the ability to question accepted scientific theories, such as evolution, based on religious ideology.

"The LSE Act is a bad law, not because of its spirit, but because of its failure to provide the necessary restrictions, standards, and guidelines required in order for the original intent to be successfully realized," said Tammy Wood, a Zachary-area teacher who received the 1991 Louisiana Presidential Award for science education.
It is sad that this bill will continue to bedevil the state of Louisiana. Even more unfortunate, however, is the secondary piece of legislation that will further stigmatize Louisiana in the eyes of the science community and make it much easier to get creationism in the classrooms:
Speaking after the meeting, Wood said another piece of legislation that passed in committee Wednesday, House Bill 116, along with the Science Act would mean teaching materials that include religious doctrine would more easily make their way into classrooms.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Frank Hoffman, R-West Monroe, would remove much of the oversight the Department of Education has over textbooks purchased by schools. It would also eliminate current law that requires state-approved textbooks to be available for public inspection.
 What is the sense in this legislation, if not to further hide what is going on in Louisiana and to remove any sort of accountability for science standards.  This smacks of the actions of the Dover School Board which smuggled in copies of the dreadful Of Pandas and People in the dead of night, when nobody was looking in the hopes that nobody would notice.  This ended badly for Dover, at their considerable expense.  Hopefully, it won't get that far in Louisiana.

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