Archive for the 'Louisiana Legislature' Category

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 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 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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Published by admin on 25 May 2012

This one goes in the “Unmitigated Gall” category.

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By Barbara Forrest

The Alice-through-the-looking-glass atmosphere in Louisiana just never ends. It must be something in the swamp gas. Louisiana Senator Conrad Appel (R-Metairie) is asking the legislature to support his Senate Resolution 120: “To urge and request the Board of Regents to develop a strategy to attract more students to, and graduate more students from, the state’s colleges and universities in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).” According to the May 24, 2012, Baton Rouge Advocate, “The Senate adopted the resolution without objection.” Appel’s resolution is about as blatant an example of gall as anyone could think up.

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Published by admin on 16 May 2012

Discovery Institute to LA Family Forum: “Repeat after me: ‘The LA Science Education Act is *NOT* a creationism law.’”

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By Barbara Forrest

There are times when we run across items that simply must be shared. This is one of those times. Alert readers may have read the April 17, 2012, Media Matters (MM) article by Simon Maloy, “The Unscientific Model: ‘Academic Freedom’s’ Creationist Pedigree.” If not, we recommend it, and besides, you need it as background in order to fully appreciate what we will share when you “Continue Reading” below. Maloy has done a good job of showing that the “academic freedom” bills being peddled by the Discovery Institute (DI) are the terminologically sanitized, direct descendants of the “equal time” creation science bills of the early 1980s. Louisiana’s 1981 “Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science in Public School Instruction Act,” for example, was enacted “for the purposes of protecting academic freedom.”

The Balanced Treatment Act, which required the teaching of “creation science” along with evolution, was declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987. The Court explicitly rejected the “academic freedom” defense. But losing in court has never deterred creationists. A small band of brave souls simply — and opportunistically — ditched the “young earth” and “flood geology” (that’s Noah‘s flood) and rebranded themselves as “intelligent design theorists.” They also continued to write creationist legislation — except that such bills must now be written as “stealth” bills using code language such as “critical thinking,” as in the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA). There is only one teensy-weensy problem: the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF) and its disciples just can’t seem to get the “stealth” part down.  Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 12 Apr 2012

Introducing the 75 Nobel Laureates Who Support Repealing the Louisiana Science Education Act

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The Louisiana Coalition for Science is proud to present our first-ever guest column, which was written by Dr. Ian Chandler Binns.

Dr. Binns joined LCFS’s effort to protect science education while he was on the faculty at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Although he has relocated to the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, he remains an integral part of our effort.

In his article below (also downloadable in pdf), Dr. Binns has profiled the contribution to society of the 75 Nobel Laureates who support repeal of the Louisiana Science Education Act. (Our thanks also goes to Zack Kopplin, whose efforts produced this impressive source of support.)

Before reading Dr. Binns’s article, let’s first stop and think, readers, about the contributions that creationism has made to the world of science. Actually, you don’t have to stop and think . . .

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Published by admin on 11 Apr 2012

Like Louisiana Needs More Bad Publicity

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By Barbara Forrest

One would think that after the Louisiana legislature passed and Bobby Jindal signed the creationist Louisiana Science Education Act in 2008, we folks down here in the Pelican State would get used to bad publicity. And the truth is, we are pretty used to it. But that doesn’t mean that we have totally lost our capacity for mortification when we hear more news that should make everyone down here blush from embarrassment. Dr. Len Bahr, a retired coastal scientist who writes the excellent Lacoastpost blog, now informs us that another — very highly paid — Louisiana public official is a creationist.

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Published by admin on 05 Jan 2012

The Gutting of BESE’s LSEA Implementation Policy: The Untold Story of Alliance Defense Fund Involvement

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By Barbara Forrest

Let’s begin 2012 by looking back three years to January 13, 2009. That is when the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF) persuaded the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) to gut its policy for implementing the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA). The gutted policy was inserted as §2304, “Science Education,” into Bulletin 741 [doc], the Louisiana Handbook for School Administrators, which instructs local school administrators and school boards concerning laws passed by the legislature. How did the LFF accomplish this? Long story short: the LFF showed up at BESE’s January 13, 2009, meeting loaded for bear, bringing their Louisiana College creationist professors — and their attorneys — with them. As a result, BESE stripped from the policy an explicit prohibition against teaching creationism: “Materials that teach creationism or intelligent design or that advance the religious belief that a supernatural being created humankind shall be prohibited for use in science classes.” The very next day, LFF executive director, Rev. Gene Mills, announced, “Louisiana is open for business.” But there is more to this story that has not yet been told.

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Published by admin on 27 Dec 2011

Ringing Out 2011: “Battle over Science in Louisiana”

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By  Barbara Forrest

The year 2011 is about to end, and this gives the Louisiana Coalition for Science (LCFS) a chance to highlight two cool things:  (1) a new article by LCFS member Dr. Ian Binns entitled “Battle over Science in Louisiana” published in (2) Reports of the National Center for Science Education (RNCSE, pronounced “rensee”), which is now freely available online. (The Binns article is here [pdf].) Until recently, Dr. Binns was a science educator at Louisiana State University; he is now at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. Throughout 2010-2011, he was an integral participant in LCFS’s successful effort to protect the selection of state-approved biology textbooks, and he took the lead in our successful effort to block the passage of HB 580, which would have undermined state oversight of school districts’ purchase of science materials. In the November-December 2011 issue of RNCSE, Dr. Binns has chronicled the attack on science education that took place after the passage of the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA).

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