Science Under Siege — Louisiana Edition II

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The religious right’s war on science continues this week when Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) meets to consider the adoption of new biology textbooks for the state’s public schools. Two special panels that included educators, scientists and scholars have already approved the proposed biology textbooks. (The National Center for Science Education has more here. TFN Insider wrote about the Louisiana battle last month.)  But creationists on the BESE still oppose final approval because the textbooks don’t include junk-science arguments against evolution. Here’s a recap of what’s been happening so far.

The Louisiana Coalition for Science has been working hard to turn back the assault on sound science education in the state. Lauri Lebo at Religion Dispatches has been following the story and has good background here and here.

A BESE committee — the Student/School Performance and Support Committee, chaired by creationist Dale Bayard — is set to hear testimony from the public at a public hearing on Tuesday. The full board will take up the issue Wednesday and Thursday.

3 Responses to “Science Under Siege — Louisiana Edition II”

  1. John M. Hays Says:

    Just so you know…..In Louisiana, textbooks are purchased at the local level from a BESE approved list. All the books that are cleared by various subject committees are sent to each parish’s public library. That happened to fill three fair size pallets with books. They were not sorted by subject matter, so you had to go through every pallet to find the high school level general science, biology and history books.
    I did not find a single book that even made mention of creationism or the current version in the general science or biology texts, but all did make clear that evolution was the only scientiffically accepted explanation for changes in life on earth. I thought maybe the “young earthers” might have slipped something in a history text, but they were right down the line with reality.
    We do have a goofy and worthless fast talking governor and lots of right wingnuts in Louisiana, but I don’t think they have enough support on BESE to get their views in textbooks.

  2. TFN Says:

    John,
    Thanks for the on-the-ground update. Our impression from talking to allies in Louisiana matches yours — the textbooks look pretty good. We hope you’re right that the BESE’s creationists don’t have the votes to block their approval.

  3. Glenn Branch Says:

    Good news: the committee voted 6-1 to approve the textbooks.. The board’s final decision is expected on December 9. See http://www.theadvertiser.com/article/20101207/NEWS01/101207037/BESE+panel+approves+science+textbooks++ for details.

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