Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is no friend of science educators. Last year, he passed a voucher plan that would give more than $11,000,000 of taxpayer money to private schools that teach Creationism.
But I can’t remember him ever supporting the teaching of Creationism as openly as he did in a recent interview with Hoda Kotb (the relevant portion begins at the 9:00 mark):
Hoda Kotb: … Should creationism be taught in schools?
Bobby Jindal: Well, look, I believe that all our children should be exposed to the best science. And, here in Louisiana, we’ve adopted Common Core standards, and so we want our kids to be able to be tested based on the best science, compared not only to kids in Georgia and Florida, but also internationally as well with kids in China, in Singapore, in Japan.
If you’re asking me about what should be taught in private schools, in Catholic schools, in independent schools, I think parents could make the decisions about where they send their kids to school, about what kinds of values their kids are taught. In Louisiana, we test all of our kids on national-based standards to make sure that when our kids graduate from elementary school, middle school, and high school, we’re gonna make sure they get the best information on science, math, English, and all these other topics.
Kotb: So you don’t think… you don’t think that Creationism should be taught in public schools?
Jindal: Well, in public schools, look, our kids are required in science to learn the same curriculum in terms of the ACT and other standardized national tests… We have what’s called the Science Education Act [LSEA] that says if a teacher wants to supplement those materials, if the school board’s okay with that, if the state school board is okay with that, they can supplement those materials. Bottom line, at the end of the day, we want our kids to be exposed to the best facts. Let’s teach them about the Big Bang Theory. Let’s teach them about evolution. Let’s teach them — I’ve got no problem if a school board, a local school board, says we want to teach our kids about Creationism, that people, some people, have these beliefs as well, let’s teach them about Intelligent Design… give them the tools where they can make up their own mind… What are we scared of?… We shouldn’t be afraid of exposing our kids to more information, more knowledge…
Of course, that’s about as false a dichotomy as you can find. More education is good. More shitty education is not good. And Creationism is shitty education since it’s not based in any actual science, only religious mythology.
As Biology professor Ken Miller said last year:
Presenting an idea that has no scientific support as if it were the equal of a thoroughly tested scientific theory is academic dishonesty of the rankest sort. Indeed, this is why Jindal’s own genetics professor at Brown University, National Academy member Arthur Landy, advised him to veto the LSEA, advice Jindal ignored.
Jindal is simply unfit for office if he thinks the best way to educate children — something he plays a significant role in determining — is for educators to throw whatever wacky ideas they have at the kids and hope that only the good stuff sticks.
Leave it to the science educators to make these decisions. They have in this case, and they’ve said repeatedly that teaching Creationism is an awful use of classroom time. Jindal, playing to his Republican base, has ignored this advice for years.
But what do you really expect from a man who once performed an exorcism?