Round Two in the Louisiana Science Education Wars

Marion Herbert's picture
Friday, March 9, 2012

Louisiana State Senator Karen Carter Peterson pre-filed Senate Bill 374 (PDF), to repeal the state’s ill-advised Science Education Act of 2008.

The law essentially allows creationists to attack the teaching of evolution under the guise of “academic freedom”.

“This year the Governor has asked the Louisiana legislature to focus on education,” she said. “If this Legislative session is truly about improving Louisiana’s education system, then the first place to start is to repeal the Louisiana Science Act.”

Peterson sponsored a similar bill last year which died in committee. The bright spot for pro-science educators at the time was Baton Rouge high school student Zach Kopplin, who spearheaded a grass roots movement to support repeal of the bill.

Kopplin is back with more support, including  74 Nobel laureates.

The warning flags many of us raised about this law have now been proven justified. Members of the Livingston Parish School Board recently announced their desire to include creationism in the science curriculum for the 2011-2012 school year. Clearly, the LSEA is well understood by Louisiana school administrators and public officials as having created an avenue to incorporate the teaching of creationism into science curricula in Louisiana schools.

Among the many scientists who signed the petition supporting repeal, Steven Weinberg, Sheldon Glashow, Leon Lederman. Among those who endorsed it: Kenneth Miller and Francisco Ayala.

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