Steve May

Texas gets an 'A' in Science; La. gets an '?'

by Steve May

Now comes more news from the Louisiana Department of “The Harder We Work the Behinder We Get." Yes, we continue our determined struggle to occupy the lowest rung among our fellow states on the science education ladder by implementing regressive new anti-evolution theory laws that dilute high standard public school curricula and to draw national attention while doing so.

You could sense the collective wincing among many reform-minded Louisiana residents who read The Sunday Advocate’s P. 5A story detailing how our neighbor Texas has decided to abandon a room in the education cellar they ever so briefly shared with us here in Louisiana. Written by The Dallas Morning News’ Terence Stutz, the piece opens with, “In a major defeat for social conservatives, a sharply divided State Board of Education voted Thursday to abandon a longtime state requirement that high school science teachers cover what some critics consider to be 'weaknesses' in the theory of evolution."

Regrettably, it was only days earlier that our own Board of Elementary and Secondary Education basically chose the opposite position, leaving us hanging alone from that lowest of rungs. It’s certainly not a big surprise that the Legislature of our great state could pass a bill like this; after all, we remain largely that same ol’ loveable, socially conservative Deep South state we’ve always been. But the irony of our highly educated Ivy League graduate/Rhodes Scholar-reform governor signing it into law, even as his old Brown University science professor pleaded with him not to do so, should linger for a while. Of course, we’re not overlooking how a credential like this could buy a lot of southern presidential primary votes among the South’s religious right when you’re dukin' it out with the likes of probable contender Mike Huckabee.

As Texas education board member Mary Helen Berlanga said in the DMN story, “We’re not talking about faith. We’re not talking about religion. We’re talking about science. We need to stay with our experts and respect what they have requested us to do.”

And Texas did.