Thanks to Republican led education reform throughout many southern states, creationism is finding its way into countless public schools and even private schools that have been granted access to taxpayer funds via school voucher programs.
States like Texas have a long history of editing textbooks to raise questions about the validity of evolution and have attempted to broker many back-alley deals and applying pressure to publishers in order solidify such changes.
A new map constructed by Chris Kirk lays out the schools who have benefited from such laws. One of the largest exploiters of such laws has been Louisiana, which passed the The Louisiana Science Education Act of 2008 which stated that teachers are allowed to use “supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner.” This law is specifically geared towards the teaching of evolution, climate change and human cloning.
The law was written with the help of The Discovery Institute, a creationist think tank which happens to provide such “supplemental text books” to schools such as those in Louisiana.
Federal law prohibits the teaching of creationism in public schools, yet nearly two-dozen current and former faculty members of the Ouachita Parish School Board in Louisiana have signed a letter stating that they were able challenge evolution in the classroom with fear of legal repercussions.
“Our science policy gives us the opportunity to discuss those views, held by our students, in light of scientific fact and to bring up scientific questions that challenge current scientific ‘theories,’” the letter says. “We are able to scientifically answer questions and show how widely held “theories” have discrepancies in them. We are able to do this without any tension or fear thanks to our parish science policy.”
There is hope, yet sadly it is bleak. This week the Louisiana Senate Education Committee (LSEC) is set to consider a new bill, S.B. 74, that will repeal the 2008 law, but accomplishing this seems to be an uphill battle as the LSEC has passed on similar bills for the last four years.
While many states are attempting to pass such laws, it seems states like Texas and Louisiana are the ones providing the roadmaps on accomplishing this. These laws subject countless students to an education full of misinformation and leaves many of them at a disadvantage when entering the real world and looking to further their education.