Published by admin on 30 May 2013

Letter to Senate Education Committee: Please vote against HB 116.

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By Barbara Forrest

HB 116 by Rep. Frank Hoffmann (R-West Monroe) will be heard in the Senate Education Committee on Thursday, May 30, 2013.  The following e-mail went to all members of the committee on May 28. Some additional hyperlinks have been added to this post. Only the hyperlinks that are visible in full were included in the e-mail to the committee.

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Published by admin on 28 Apr 2013

Letter to the Senate Education Committee: Please vote for SB 26 to repeal the LA Science Education Act.

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By Barbara Forrest

I have posted below the letter that I sent to the Louisiana Senate Education Committee asking members to allow SB 26, Senator Karen Carter Peterson’s bill to repeal the creationist Louisiana Science Education Act, out of committee for a Senate floor vote. Below the letter, I have posted contact information for the committee members. Please take a few minutes to call or e-mail them before Wednesday, May 1, when SB 26 will be heard. Zack Kopplin has worked extremely hard on this effort, and he needs our support.

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Published by admin on 13 Feb 2013

Academic Freedom Silliness in Montana — Compared to Academic Freedom Silliness in Louisiana

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By Barbara Forrest

Everyone has heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” With respect to the creationism bill introduced in Montana this year, that should read, “A video clip is worth a thousand words.” Our readers may enjoy (or not) comparing Rep. Clayton Fiscus’s defense of his HB 183 to “to emphasize critical thinking in instruction related to controversial scientific theories on the origin of life” to Louisiana legislators’ responses to Zack Kopplin’s 2011 and 2012 bills to repeal the creationist Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA). It’s a real contest as to whose legislators are sillier. But as you will see, the outcome in Montana was very different than in Louisiana. Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 14 Jan 2013

Bogus Louisiana Teacher Survey Used to Support Central Community School System Creationism Policy — and Discovery Institute’s Academic Freedom Laws

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By Barbara Forrest

On September 10, 2012, Central Community School System (CCSS) board member Jim Lloyd invoked a 2005 teacher survey in recommending the adoption of CCSS’s stealth creationism policy. He said (mp3, 12:50) that a Louisiana teacher organization, the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana, had “polled its members and learned that a large percentage of them welcomed guidance concerning how to better teach controversial science subjects.” The controversial subject is, of course, evolution.

After sitting on information about this survey for seven years, waiting for a relevant occasion to use it, we now present it to our readers. It is NOT a project with which any respectable teacher organization should have been involved. As Colonel Sherman Potter used to say on MASH, it’s a load of pony pucks. So naturally, the Discovery Institute and the Louisiana Family Forum are involved.

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Published by admin on 28 Dec 2012

Creationist Conniving in Central Community School System, Part Two

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By Barbara Forrest 

In Part One of this account of the Louisiana Family Forum’s (LFF’s) extension of its “academic freedom” agenda into the Central Community School System (CCSS), we provided background information about the resolution and policy that the CCSS school board adopted on September 10, 2012. In short, the CCSS resolution and policy [pdf] are the same stealth creationist resolution and policy [pdf] that the LFF failed to get the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) to adopt in August 2008. The resolution and policy were written by LFF creationist Darrell White. Here is what happened:

Having failed to get Darrell White’s resolution and policy adopted by BESE in 2008, the LFF just put it in cold storage and used it in Central in 2012, meaning that there was active collaboration between the LFF and the CCSS school board. While there is nothing earthshaking in this news, it does show that the LFF continues its active promotion of creationism in the public schools of Louisiana.

However, Part One gave only the background of the creationist conniving in the Central Community School System. In Part Two, we provide “the rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey used to say. This part is fairly long, but it offers detailed evidence of what really happened in Central.

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Published by admin on 21 Dec 2012

Orleans Parish School Board Sets an Example for Jindal and Legislature

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By Barbara Forrest

The Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) just did something that neither Bobby Jindal nor the Louisiana legislature has had the integrity to do. 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.

The Louisiana Coalition for Science thanks the OPSB for this most encouraging initiative. We also thank our own Zack Kopplin for working with the OPSB on this. Most specifically, we should thank outgoing board member Thomas Robichaux, who placed the proposals on the agenda. So . . .

Robichaux-07-01-2011

THANK YOU, MR. ROBICHAUX!

Now, let’s get the details. 

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Published by admin on 12 Dec 2012

Creationist Conniving in Central Community School System — Part One

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By  Barbara Forrest

On September 10, 2012, the Central Community School System (CCSS) in Central, Louisiana, adopted (1) “A Resolution on Teacher Academic Freedom to Teach Scientific Evidence Regarding Controversial Scientific Subjects” and (2) a policy on “Teacher Academic Freedom in Science Education When Covering Controversial Scientific Subjects.” These long-winded titles are a sure sign that stealth creationism is still alive and well in Louisiana. And the fingerprints of the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF) are all over this. In fact, the CCSS resolution and policy are the same resolution and policy that the LFF tried to foist off on the state through the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) after the Louisiana Science Education Act was adopted in June 2008. In fact, they are exactly the same — right down to the mistakes and the mendacity.

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Published by admin on 16 Nov 2012

Hardball blasts Jindal’s support for creationism in Louisiana

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By Barbara Forrest

Louisiana residents who support teaching good science — which includes evolution — will find it hard to see Bobby Jindal’s comments in his November 13 Politico interview as anything except an opportunistic pivot for the sake of his national ambitions.

It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments — enough of that. . . . It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party. We’ve also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters.

Really, governor? If that’s the case, then your constituents can count on your public support next year for the repeal of the creationist Louisiana Science Education Act that you signed in 2008 as a favor to your friends at the Louisiana Family Forum, right?

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Published by admin on 27 Sep 2012

A New Discovery Institute Defender in Louisiana (Updated 10/2/12)

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By Barbara Forrest

Our readers won’t be surprised to learn that Louisiana citizens frequently write letters to newspapers defending intelligent design (ID) creationism and the Discovery Institute (DI), the creationist think tank in Seattle that co-authored the Louisiana Science Education Act with the Louisiana Family Forum. Creationist letter-writing is virtually a cottage industry in the Pelican State. However, it may come as a surprise that one recent letter-writer, management consultant Cecil R. Phillips of Baton Rouge, apparently went to Seattle and met the ID creationists in person. So in addition to the Louisiana Family Forum, we now have another vocal ID defender in Louisiana. And some interesting dots appear to be connected.

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Published by admin on 18 Jul 2012

The Unbearable Irony of Being Senator Conrad Appel

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By Barbara Forrest

Sometimes the word “irony” is insufficient as a response to the actual nature of events. For some situations, “irony” is just too tepid. One finds that such is the case upon reading the article entitled “Louisiana Science Education Strategy Under Development” in the Business section of the July 15, 2012, New Orleans Times-Picayune. The article opens this way:

After recognizing a need for more students and graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, Sen. Conrad Appel, R-Metairie, drafted Senate Resolution 120. The resolution asks Louisiana’s top higher education board, the Board of Regents, to develop a strategy to attract and keep students in those degree fields to supply companies in New Orleans with a larger, more capable work force. 

Sen. Conrad Appel, who chairs the Senate Education Committee, is concerned about the state of science education in Louisiana. Although this is one of those cases in which “irony” sounds a bit weak, let’s just go ahead and say that his concern — while most welcome — is also most ironic. Read on to find out why.

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