Archive for the 'SB 733' Category

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 31 May 2012

Speaking of not getting the memo: Philosopher Bradley Monton on the LA Science Education Act

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By Barbara Forrest

The intelligent design (ID) creationists at the Discovery Institute (DI) are nothing if not tech-savvy. They make masterful use of the Internet, producing podcasts, videos, and slick websites to get their message out (see here, here, here, and here). You’d think, then, that they could make sure that all of their supporters had received that little memo saying that the Louisiana Science Education Act DOES NOT PERMIT TEACHING INTELLIGENT DESIGN (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). They apparently forgot to send it to Bradley Monton, an atheist philosopher who announced his support for ID (you read that right) in the title of his book, Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design. Or maybe he failed to notice it in his inbox. Or maybe he read it and forgot. Or something. Whatever the reason, DI just can’t seem to keep its people from periodically telling the truth about the Louisiana Science Education Act.

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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 03 Apr 2011

Did Louisiana Family Forum’s prayer network malfunction?

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By Barbara Forrest

For the three years since the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA) was enacted, the Louisiana Coalition for Science has hammered constantly on the fact that the LSEA is a creationist law. The Louisiana Family Forum (LFF) has consistently denied this. But other people who share the same political and religious views as the LFF seem to have their own ideas concerning what this law is all about. Maybe the LFF’s memo didn’t get sent out widely enough through the prayer network . . . or the divine communication channels broke down . . . or something.

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Published by admin on 25 Feb 2011

(UPDATED) Another creationist “academic freedom” bill bites the dust: Oklahoma HB 1551 (and now SB 554)


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By Barbara Forrest

UPDATE (March 5, 2011): The National Center for Science Education reports that the second creationist bill in Oklahoma, SB 554, appears to have died in committee.

SB 554, a hybrid of the ‘academic freedom’ antievolution strategy and the flawed Texas state science standards, appears to have died in committee on February 28, 2011, when a deadline for senate bills to be reported from committee passed. SB 554 was introduced by Josh Brecheen (R-District 6), who described it in the Durant Daily Democrat (December 24, 2010) as ‘requiring every publically funded Oklahoma school to teach the debate of creation vs. evolution.’

The Louisiana Coalition for Science again congratulates the find work of Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education and the other committed citizens who worked to protect the education of Oklahoma students! And Oklahoma has given Louisiana even more reason to follow their example and work just as hard to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act[end update]

Good news and kudos to Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education (OESE) for their good work in fighting for Oklahoma science education! Oklahoma HB 1551 (rtf) has been defeated in committee. The National Center for Science Education reports that OK Rep. Sally Kern’s bill, “which would, if enacted, encourage teachers to present the ‘scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses’ of ‘controversial’ topics such as evolution,” failed in the House Common Education Committee by a vote of 7-9. (It could be resurrected later in this session or in a future session.) The comments about the bill, however, were interesting.

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Published by admin on 21 Feb 2011

Rest in peace New Mexico HB 302. Hear that, Louisiana?


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By Barbara Forrest

New Mexico’s stealth creationist bill, HB 302, which in many respects closely tracked the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA), has been tabled, meaning that it is dead for the current legislative session. The bill’s obituary was posted by the National Center for Science Education , and its demise was confirmed by a dedicated pro-science citizen in New Mexico who helped put it to sleep. This development should serve as an example to Louisiana legislators, who will have an opportunity in the upcoming regular session of the Louisiana legislature to send the LSEA to a similar fate by repealing it outright.

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Published by admin on 25 Nov 2010

Open letter to BESE from a member of the Louisiana Life Sciences Textbook Adoption Committee


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By Barbara Forrest

In keeping with the November 20 post highlighting Louisiana citizens who have stepped forward to protect science education in our public schools, this post will give a voice to a member of one of Louisiana’s most dedicated groups of citizens: public school science teachers. Our state is blessed with dedicated science teachers, one of whom has stepped forward as a voice of reason with a message to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on behalf of Louisiana students.

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Published by admin on 13 Nov 2010

Hell just froze over in Louisiana.


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By Barbara Forrest

Readers will have to pardon the mixed metaphors in this post, but something happened today in Louisiana that is about as common here as snowflakes at Christmas: the voice of reason prevailed at a meeting of public officials. Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 11 Nov 2010

Textbook Attack in Louisiana


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By Barbara Forrest

Well, friends, the fun just never stops here in Louisiana. As the saying goes, “Here we go again.” What, you ask, is the state of Louisiana up to now?

We now have a Texas-style attack on the selection of biology textbooks, courtesy of the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF), which brought us the creationist Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA) of 2008. (See the LFF’s “Action Item” in its August 10, 2010, Family Facts newsletter.) This attack began with a volley of letters written by LFF operative Darrell White to various Louisiana newspapers in July of this year. (See White’s July 22, 2010, letter in the Hammond Daily Star. See my response in the July 26 Daily Star.) However, the process has been developing under the radar. The November 9, 2010, story on the front page of the Baton Rouge Advocate has now provided a glimpse of what may be about to happen on Friday, November 12, at a meeting of the Textbook/Media/Advisory Council in Baton Rouge [agenda here (pdf)]. According to the Advocate article, the LFF and its followers just have all kinds of problems with the biology textbooks.

Critics contend some biology I, biology II and other school books under scrutiny  for public classrooms put too much credence in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

‘It is like Charles Darwin and his theory is a saint,’ said Winston White, of Baton Rouge, who filed a comment with state officials reviewing the textbooks. . . .

Darrell White, who is the father of Winston White and is  co-founder of the Louisiana Family Forum, said the proposed biology textbooks he reviewed fail to meet the benchmarks spelled out in a [2008] law aimed at expanding classroom talks on the theory of evolution.

‘If this was a beauty contest, we have got all ugly contestants in these biology textbooks,’ [Darrell] White said.

And — hush my puppies! — the article says that “In written comments to state officials, David Mathers, of West Monroe, said he would ‘like to see intelligent design explained as an alternate theory to the theory of evolution.’” Moreover, Curt Eberts of Monroe “faulted a biology textbook he reviewed for lacking material on the concept of intelligent design.” One would think that these folks were coordinating their efforts, wouldn’t one?

The meeting is open to the public, and concerned citizens may want to attend. But first, a little history is in order, because this goes all the way back to 2002, when the LFF made its first attempt to influence the selection of state-approved biology textbooks. So let’s take a little stroll down memory lane. Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 20 Jun 2010

We need some Florida backbone in the Louisiana legislature.

Request to readers: If Louisiana readers like the posts on this website, please consider sharing them with as many people as possible, including your elected officials, science teacher friends, school administrators, school board members, media contacts, etc. Please don’t spam; be considerate and send them only to people whom you think will benefit from them.


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By Barbara Forrest

The title of this post may sound strange. But read on, and you will see that there is more backbone in a minority of the members of the Florida legislature than in the entire Louisiana legislature. Just as it was doing in Louisiana, the Discovery Institute, a creationist think tank in Seattle, was maneuvering in Florida to get its academic freedom (read: “stealth creationism”) legislation passed in the state of Florida in 2008. But the outcome in Florida was very different than the outcome in Louisiana. On February 29, 2008, a Discovery Institute “academic freedom” bill was introduced in the Florida Senate by Sen. Ronda Storms. That bill, SB 2962, passed. On March 4, a companion bill, HB 1483, was introduced in the House by Rep. Alan Hays. It also passed. In April, as the National Center for Science Education reported, “The antievolution bills — the so-called Academic Freedom Acts — in Florida are progressing, despite protests from teachers, scientists, and the Florida ACLU, and despite the criticisms of the legislature’s own staff.” By April 28, however, there was some doubt as to whether creationists in the Florida legislature could reconcile their own differences in time to get the bill passed before the legislature adjourned on May 2. They did not, and the legislation died. In 2009, creationists in the Florida legislature made another attempt at getting academic freedom legislation passed, but SB 2396 fortunately did not even get to the floor, and the bill died in committee. (See the excellent Florida Citizens for Science website.)

Florida seems to have learned its lesson (for the time being). The notable thing about Florida, however, was the vocal resistance to these creationist bills by Florida legislators on the debate floor of the House and Senate in 2008. (See videos below.) There was no such resistance on the floor of the Louisiana House and Senate when the Louisiana Science Education Act (LEA) was making its way through the legislature at exactly the same time as the Florida bills. In fact, where the Louisiana legislature is concerned, except for three “no” votes (pdf) in the House (which the three legislators cast without comment), there was no resistance at all. Continue Reading »

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