By Barbara Forrest

To all of our friends across the country who answered our call to write to the Louisiana legislature and to Gov. Jindal in opposition to SB 733, the “LA Science Education Act”:

In keeping with our southern tradition of good manners, we would like to thank all of the organizations and individuals who helped the LA Coalition for Science in its effort to protect the teaching of science in Louisiana public schools. We appreciate the time you all took to write e-mails, send faxes, and make phone calls. We wish that the Louisiana legislature and the governor had appreciated the sincere concern you showed for Louisiana children. In fact, we wish that the legislature and the governor shared your concern.

We would also like for the nation to know that in Louisiana there are good, decent, hardworking, well-educated people who did their best to fight this bill. Louisiana is indeed “a blessed state,” as Gov. Jindal likes to say. But our blessings lie in the fact that we have dedicated public school teachers, world-class scientists, and concerned citizens who saw SB 733 for what it is — an attempt to keep Louisiana children from enjoying the same right to a 21st-century education as children in the rest of the country — and refused to be silent about it.

We are sad and embarrassed that not a single Louisiana public official, elected or appointed, stood up and opposed SB 733 vocally and publicly. (Three House members did vote against the bill during the floor vote.) Not a single Louisiana public official, elected or appointed, spoke out publicly in defense of teaching good science in our schools. Legislators did, however, vote to give themselves an increase in pay — another legislative decision that the governor refused to veto.

To the supporters of this bill: We will be watching you. We intend to hold you to your public assertions that no creationist materials will be used in our children’s science classes and that no religious concepts will be presented to our children as science.

To Louisiana elementary and secondary science teachers: Please consult the website of the LA Coalition for Science for information about quality teaching resources that are available to you. Please contact us for any assistance you need to do your job properly.

To parents who don’t support this scheme to use your children for the sake of a political and religious agenda: Support your children’s science teachers. Let them know that you want your children to learn about the most powerful biological explanation ever constructed — the theory of evolution — so that they will be as well-educated and properly informed as children in states with lawmakers and governors who support the teaching of science. Let them know that you don’t want your children handicapped by ignorance. Make sure you know what materials are being used in your children’s science classes. If you suspect that creationist materials are being used, please contact the LA Coalition for Science or the National Center for Science Education.

To the students of Louisiana: You can count on the LA Coalition for Science to stand up for you. Those of us who are teachers ourselves will continue to work as hard for you as we always have. Insist on being as well-educated in science — and everything else — as students in other states and other countries that understand the importance of a 21st-century education. If anyone introduces creationist “supplements” into your science classes, let your parents know about it. You can count on the support of people who will be here to help. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your right to a proper education.

Finally, thanks again to our friends who tried to help us. We invite you to visit our beautiful state and enjoy our wonderful food and hospitality, which are way better than our politics.