Archive for the 'Repeal Louisiana Science Education Act' Category

Published by admin on 13 Feb 2013

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

Bookmark and Share

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

Bookmark and Share

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.

Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 16 Nov 2012

Hardball blasts Jindal’s support for creationism in Louisiana

Bookmark and Share  

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?

Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 18 Jul 2012

The Unbearable Irony of Being Senator Conrad Appel

Bookmark and Share

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.

Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 25 May 2012

This one goes in the “Unmitigated Gall” category.

Bookmark and Share

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.

Continue Reading »

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.’”

Bookmark and Share  

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 27 Dec 2011

Ringing Out 2011: “Battle over Science in Louisiana”

Bookmark and Share

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).

Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 14 Oct 2011

What Louisiana Science Teachers Are Required to Do Under the LA Science Education Act (updated)

Bookmark and Share

By Barbara Forrest

Many teachers and administrators in Louisiana public schools — and probably some students and parents, too — may be wondering what science teachers are required to do under the terms of the creationist Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA), which became law with Bobby Jindal’s signature in June 2008.  The law and the implementation policy adopted by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) allow teachers to bring creationist materials into their classrooms and use them until they get caught doing it. We know that the law permits this because (a) Sen. Ben Nevers, the bill’s sponsor, said so, and (b) the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF) successfully lobbied BESE to delete the prohibitions against teaching creationism from the policy that implements the law. So evolution, the “origins of life,” global warming, and human cloning are all fair game in science classrooms. So now, with the law on the books, what do teachers have to do as a result? Here, after three years, is the definitive answer:

Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 13 Jul 2011

Louisiana: The Cartoon State

Bookmark and Share

 

By Barbara Forrest      

OK, readers, who knows what these two pictures have in common?

  Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 24 Jun 2011

Announcement: Louisiana HB 580 is dead.

Bookmark and Share

By Barbara Forrest

The Louisiana Coalition for Science (LCFS) is pleased to announce the demise of HB 580, which is official with the adjournment of the Louisiana legislature today, June 23, 2011, at 6:00 p.m. This legislation was, by every indication, nothing more than an attempt to reverse the Louisiana Family Forum’s defeat in its effort to block the approval of new biology textbooks for Louisiana public schools in fall 2010. However, even though HB 580 was another stealth creationism bill, no subject of instruction in public schools would have been safe from its effects. Continue Reading »

Next »