Archive for July, 2009

Published by admin on 26 Jul 2009

Alert for Louisiana Public Schools: Beware of Stealth Creationist “Supplemental Materials”

By Barbara Forrest

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To parents, public school teachers, principals, curriculum supervisors, school boards, and district superintendents of Louisiana:

Thank you for all you do to support Louisiana’s public schools. The public school system is a lifeline for our state’s young people, who count on you to make sure that their education prepares them for the 21st-century world. A good education is essential to their ability to live decent lives as productive citizens.

As the 2009-2010 school year begins, please remember that Louisiana now has a creationist law: the Louisiana Science Education Act [pdf] of 2008. For an analysis of the LSEA, see this document [pdf]. This law was promoted by the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF), a religious group whose director, Rev. Gene Mills, does not send his children to public schools (Gene Mills’ Christmas Letter 2008). In drafting the LSEA and influencing the BESE policy that implements it, the LFF partnered with an out-of-state creationist think tank, the Center for Science and Culture (CSC). The CSC is part of the Discovery Institute (DI) in Seattle, WA, the national headquarters of the intelligent design (ID) creationist movement. To learn more about the ID movement, see “Understanding the Intelligent Design Creationist Movement: Its True Nature and Goals” here [pdf].

You should be on guard against the creationist “supplemental materials” that this law permits under the guise of “critical thinking,” “logical analysis,” and “objective discussion.” Teaching creationism in public school science classes was declared unconstitutional by the U. S. Supreme Court in the case of Edwards v. Aguillard 1987, which originated in our own state of Louisiana. Since “intelligent design” has been exposed as nothing more than creationism, the Edwards ruling applies to ID as well. Below are materials that should NOT be used in Louisiana’s public school science classes, along with tips that will help you recognize such materials. Our list may not include everything that could show up in our public schools. If you have questions about any materials, please contact the Louisiana Coalition for Science. We work directly with the National Center for Science Education. Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 24 Jul 2009

Responding to David DeWolf in Louisiana — Followup to July 23 Mid-year Review

By Barbara Forrest

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As promised in the July 23 post featuring Dr. Holly Wilson’s 1/25/09 letter to the Monroe News Star, in response to which DeWolf wrote a February 3 op-ed, below is my response (without commentary) to DeWolf’s op-ed. Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 23 Jul 2009

Mid-Year Review: More About How Louisiana Got the Louisiana Science Education Act

By Barbara Forrest

Summer is two-thirds over, and nothing much is going on. (Exception: we can be sure that creationists are busy plotting — they never slack off. This is a significant factor in their success at causing trouble and catching pro-science advocates off guard. There’s a lesson here.) So it’s a good time to review some little-noted developments that occurred after the 2008 passage of the creationist Louisiana Science Education Act. As it turns out, the Discovery Institute (DI), national headquarters of the intelligent design creationist movement, despite its declaration of victory when Gov. Jindal signed the LSEA, continues to stay abreast of what goes on down here. They even monitor our small town newspapers. Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 10 Jul 2009

Questionable Priorities — A Sad Story in Louisiana

By Barbara Forrest

Gov. Bobby Jindal is showing a bit of irrational and imperious behavior in the afterglow of the 2009 legislative session, perhaps emboldened by his successes with mostly compliant lawmakers.

Just two weeks after his charming wife, Supriya, visited Shreveport schools and Sci-Port to promote math and science education, Jindal’s veto pen sliced out $250,000 for an LSUS enrichment program that helps middle and high school students prepare for careers in math, science and engineering. Do the founder of the Supriya Jindal Foundation for advancing math and science education and her husband not talk? — “Gov makes questionable education calls,” Shreveport Times editorial, July 5, 2009 (emphasis added)

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Published by admin on 06 Jul 2009

Governor Jindal’s Friends in Low Places — Updated

By Barbara Forrest

UPDATE 7.10.09: Readers can see Barton’s “expert” review of the Texas social studies standards, as well as those of the other reviewers, here. Barton does not believe that scientist Carl Sagan was of sufficient scientific stature to be included among the scientists about whom Texas students should learn:

In Grade 5 (b)(24)(A), there are certainly many more notable scientists than Carl Sagan – such as Wernher von Braun, Matthew Maury, Joseph Henry, Maria Mitchell, David Rittenhouse, etc.

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Supporters of science education both in Louisiana and around the country have scratched their heads in perplexity, trying to figure out how Gov. Bobby Jindal, who earned an undergraduate degree in biology at Brown University, one of the country’s finest Ivy League schools, could sign the creationist Louisiana Science Education Act [pdf]. They wonder how he can support the teaching of intelligent design, a form of creationism which has been thoroughly discredited by competent scientists and scholars. Only the governor can definitively answer this question. But if there is any truth in the old adage, “You are judged by the company you keep,” knowing something about the people with whom the governor keeps company offers at least partial insight into why he signed Louisiana’s creationism bill last year. David Barton is one of those people. Who is David Barton?

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