By Barbara Forrest
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 »