New La. science standards retain regressive LSEA language

by Walter Pierce

But kudos to the BESE for beating back calls to fortify anti-evolution instruction in public school science classes.

The state school board for elementary and secondary public schools in Louisiana has signed off new science standards that will be phased in before going into full effect for the 2018-19 school year. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted 9-0 today (Wednesday) to approve the standards, but not after agreeing to add a reference to the Louisiana Science Education Act, the controversial 2008 state law that allows public school science teachers to “supplement” the state curriculum with materials that challenge Darwinian evolution.

It was an unfortunate nod to creationists, but only a glancing nod: opponents of evolution wanted the board to tweak the standards themselves to raise questions about evolution.

As the Associated Press reports:

With a 9-0 vote, a panel of nearly all BESE members agreed to the standards revisions. But support came only after language was added to remind educators about a Louisiana law that allows public school science teachers to use supplemental materials in their classrooms.

Supporters of the addition wanted the language included as a way to encourage teachers to challenge evolution in their science classrooms.

“If you really believe we should teach the controversy, why is that not included in the standards?” asked Rep. Beryl Amedee, R-Gray.

Amedee was among several speakers who wanted the standards tweaked to raise questions about evolution. Gene Mills, president of the conservative Louisiana Family Forum, said evolution is referenced 25 times in the standards, but with no mention of “opposing theories.”

“Teachers, like the test, will follow the standards,” Mills said.

Science teachers urged the education board to adopt the rewritten benchmarks without language challenging evolution.

BESE members were no doubt relieved that representatives of the Flat Earth Society weren’t at the meeting to demand equal treatment of their “opposing theory” within the geophysics curriculum; that meeting would’ve taken longer than a summer solstice in hell.

Read more about the new science standards here.

Trivia of note to Lafayette readers: Among the many U.S. Supreme Court cases that have sided with Darwinian evolutionary theory, AKA actual science, over creationism and its lab coat-wearing offspring, Intelligent Design, is the 1987 ruling Edwards v. Aguillard in which justices threw out a Louisiana law, the Creationism Act, that only allowed evolution to be taught in public schools if creation “science” was taught alongside it. Justices ruled the Louisiana law violated the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment Clause barring the preferential treatment of one religion over others in law.

The case began in 1982 when a biology teacher at Acadiana High School, with backing of the ACLU and, later, scores of Nobel laureates and scientific groups, filed suit against the creationism law. The case began as Aguillard v. Treen, the latter of whom, David Treen, was the governor of Louisiana at the time. By the time the case got to SCOTUS it was Edwards v. Aguillard — Edwin Edwards was governor at that point. The Aguillard who filed the original suit is Dr. Donald Aguillard, current superintendent of the Lafayette Parish School System.

Now how’s that half-cent sales tax proposition looking?