This week in awesome: Zach Kopplin

by Walter Pierce

(Or is it "This week in quixotic?") A Baton Rouge Magnet High School senior is leading a grassroots effort to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act.

A high school student in the state capital is spearheading an effort to repeal a 2008 law that advocates of mainstream biology education characterize as a Trojan horse for creationism. Zach Kopplin, a senior at Baton Rouge Magnet High, is targeting the Louisiana Science Education Act in the upcoming legislative session that begins in April.

The law, passed unanimously in the state Senate and by a 94-3 vote in the House - every member of Lafayette's delegation voted in favor of the act - allows for the teaching of "supplemental materials" in high school biology classes. Those supplemental materials are widely understood to be related to Intelligent Design, a pseudo science concocted by creationists to do an end run around repeated federal court rulings barring the teaching of religion in public schools. ID posits that because life is so complex there must have been an "intelligent designer," i.e., a supreme being, that created it. The LSEA was pushed primarily by Louisiana Family Forum, a conservative Christian group.

State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, has announced she will sponsor the legislation.

The effort to repeal LSEA comes on the heels of a battle late last year over the state school board's purchase of mainstream biology textbooks that make no mention of Intelligent Design. Reason won the day over the objections of LFF and BESE member Dale Bayard.

Kopplin is the son of Andy Kopplin, the former chief of staff to Govs. Mike Foster and Kathleen Blanco who now serves as first deputy mayor and chief administrative officer for the city of New Orleans.

Read more about the fight over science education in Louisiana public school's in The Ind's Dec. 8 cover story, "Devolve!"

Read more about Kopplin's repeal effort here.