Alas, the horrible creationist Louisiana Science & Education Act (SB70) wasn’t repealed, but the Orleans Parish School Board doesn’t want anything to do with it.
On December 18, 2012, the board voted unanimously to prohibit the use of any textbooks that include revisionist history (as in Texas) or creationism, including intelligent design (ID). They also voted to prohibit teachers from teaching creationism, including ID, in Orleans Parish public schools. This is a gratifying development in light of the fact that the Louisiana Senate Education Committee has twice refused to move Zack Kopplin’s bill to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act [LSEA] out of committee.
If the uncultured heathen of New Orleans refuse something, going as far as to state that the LSEA makes them “look retarded,” you’d think Texas would drop it like a hot potato. Yeah, no.
… The 2007 law included numerous guidelines designed to help public schools create academically rigorous and constitutionally appropriate courses. But the Legislature failed to appropriate funding to develop in-service training for teachers of Bible courses, and most school districts simply ignored the requirement that teachers get such training. Moreover, the State Board of Education — under the control of religious conservatives at the time — refused to adopt serious curriculum standards to help guide school districts as they planned their courses. For these and other reasons detailed in the new report, school districts across Texas are offering courses about the Bible that simply have no place in a public school classrooms — or, in numerous cases, any classroom at all because their quality is so poor.
To learn more about how the Texas State Board of Education of fifteen people operates and retains its control over “science” and “history” textbooks, watch a documentary called The Revisionaries that will air on PBS on January 28th. It’s critical that you watch this (or get a hold of it somehow if not aired in your area) because Texas makes textbooks for the whole nation. This board has to go in the next election.
In Austin, Texas, fifteen people influence what is taught to the next generation of American children. Once every decade, the highly politicized Texas State Board of Education rewrites the teaching and textbook standards for its nearly 5 million schoolchildren. And when it comes to textbooks, what happens in Texas affects the nation as a whole.
There is hope. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal’s private school voucher program was declared unconstitutional. Let’s not forget that Catholic and other religious schools with “uncredentialed teachers” would have been the primary recipients of that funding.
Meanwhile, young Zack Kopplin has amped up his efforts to get LSEA repealed in Louisiana and is receiving a lot of attention from larger, more national media outlets for it. Brave soul. I don’t know if I have it in me to repeatedly testify in front of people like this state senator who asks if an observed E. coli population turned into a human. The trouble is not in falling for creationism, though. It’s in thinking that “creationist politicians” believe that stuff themselves. The purposeful promotion of ignorance for political gain is one of the oldest tricks in the books.
The real problem, in my opinion, is not who we vote for, but how we vote and judge those we vote in. A recent Scientific American article reveals that “41% of Democrats are young Earth creationists.” This is completely unsurprising to me considering faith, especially belief in a Christian god, is almost a prerequisite for political office. How else can the general public tell you’re a Good Person?
To borrow from the aforementioned article, “facts matter more than faith.” Those facts are where our morality and our choice of public servants ought to come from, especially when faiths vary and their adherents’ sense of right and wrong with it. Look at it this way, if you must: God gave you a brain to think about the difference between right and wrong.