NOW THAT Louisiana’s creationist governor has signed the misleadingly named the Louisiana Science Education Act, do we just sit back and wait for the inevitable litigation?
There may be a heretofore unsuspected firewall in the Louisiana education fiasco — the School Library Journal, which describes itself as the world’s largest and most authoritative reviewer of children’s and young adult content, providing 38,000 subscribers with information indispensable in making purchasing decisions.
In that journal we read: LA Governor Signs Controversial Science Education Act. Here are some excerpts, with bold added for emphasis.
We can’t help but notice the author’s rational attitude, which is evident in the lead paragraph:
More than two decades after the Supreme Court shot down a Louisiana law that mandated equal time in science classroom for biblical creationism and the scientific theory of evolution, the state’s governor Bobby Jindal has signed into law an act that allows teachers to offer “supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials” to state-mandated science textbooks.
Okay, but now what? Read on:
Science organizations across the nation have pointed out that unlike evolution, which has been verified by enormous amounts of data across multiple disciplines, there is no scientific data related to creationism or intelligent design.
Where school libraries may be drawn into the controversy is with those “supplemental materials.” The new law includes no standards or guidelines for their source, only that they can be provided or limited by local school boards.
We see where this is going:
How might school libraries play a role? “It is too early to know,” says Phyllis Heroy, chair of the legislation committee for the Louisiana Libraries Association. “The state has a textbook adoption process, but acquisition of supplemental materials is left to local school districts. …”
Heroy says the mission of school libraries to support the curriculum will continue to apply.
It may get interesting. Let’s wait to see what happens if some local school board — comprised of the usual collection of funeral directors, insurance salesmen, dentists’ wives, and real estate brokers — uses their newly-legislated “academic freedom” and tells their library to order a thousand books from the Discovery Institute.
Those librarians, traditionally thought of as scholarly but shy, may surprise a few people and turn out to be a bunch of gutsy ladies. (Yes, that’s a bit sexist, but that’s why we’re known as the Curmudgeon.)