After everything 17-year-old Zack Kopplin did to get the wrongly-named “Louisiana Science Education Act” repealed, lawmakers sided against him. Temporarily, anyway.
Currently, the law allows public school science teachers in the state to “supplement” state-approved textbooks with their own materials — including unscientific texts that support Creationism/Intelligent Design.
Zack and others were trying to put a stop to that. 43 Nobel Laureates wanted LSEA repealed. Several national science organizations agreed. Even the New Orleans City Council Council unanimously endorsed the repeal bill.
But the Senate Education Committee didn’t care. They voted 5-1 to defer SB 70 (the “Repeal LSEA” bill).
Senators sided with the governor and Christian conservatives who argued the law was designed to promote critical thinking, strengthen education and help teachers who are confused about what’s acceptable for science classes.
“The lawmakers of Louisiana are a laughing stock as far as the scientific community is concerned,” Harold Kroto, a Florida State University scientist who won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1996, said in an email to The Associated Press. He added, “The present situation should be likened to requiring Louisiana school texts to include the claim that the Sun goes round the Earth.”
“All of you have been able to get out of high school despite this ‘terrible’ law,” state Sen. Julie Quinn, R-Metairie said in comments directed at students in the audience who backed the repeal effort.
They may have “gotten out of high school” but they’re not going to be prepared for college if LSEA continues. They can thank Sen. Quinn for that.
This is the kind of legislation that Creationists love — it allows them to present their Biblical bullshit under the guise of proper science. Barbara Forrest points out that the supporters of this legislation were no fans of science education:
This law was promoted only by creationists. Neither parents, nor science teachers, nor scientists requested it. No one wanted it except the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF), a religious organization that lobbies aggressively for its regressive agenda, and the Discovery Institute (DI), a creationist think tank in Seattle, Washington, that couldn’t care less about Louisiana children.
Even Governor Bobby Jindal supported it, showing that he doesn’t give a damn about how students are educated in his state.
Zack is a high school student at Baton Rouge Magnet High School, and it’s obvious that he knows far more about science than any of the legislators voting against it. At least he’ll be able to graduate with his head held high.
But I feel bad for other Louisiana students who are about to be subject to one hell of a lot of faulty science, courtesy of all the misguided educators who care more about the Bible than the subject they teach.
***Edit***: The State Senate voted to defer the “Repeal LSEA” bill — they haven’t shot it down outright. Yet. This is still a problem, of course, because they can just vote against the bill somewhere down the road, but I’ve edited the post a bit to reflect the deferral.
Incidentally, Zack Kopplin says he sees the deferral as a “victory.” I’m not so sure about that.