Louisiana’s Science Standards Review Panel

Two months ago we wrote Another Science Circus in Louisiana?, about a state plan to revise its science education standards. The proposed process would involve a large group of people — more than 100, mostly teachers, who would examine and edit the standards, with an opportunity for the public to make comments. The process would go on until March of next year.

Then there was a flurry of letters-to-the editor, with some urging that the new standards should emulate “the spirit of free inquiry” encapsulated in the Louisiana Science Education Act (the LSEA). For example, see Louisiana Creationism: A Professor’s Opinion. As you know, the LSEA is modeled after the Discovery Institute’s Academic Freedom bill.

We’ve been waiting for things to develop, and today we found something in the Baton Rouge edition of the Advocate. Their headline is Panel of mostly educators to review Louisiana science standards, last updated in 1997, and the newspaper has a comments feature. Here are some excerpts from the news story, with bold font added by us:

Louisiana’s top school board Tuesday approved 85 educators and others to review the state’s science standards, which are nearly two decades old. The panel is scheduled to hold its first meeting Aug. 17-18 in Baton Rouge, and others around the state. The review will include a public comment period.

It’s going to be messy, and the process will drag on forever. We’re told:

The committee is scheduled to make its recommendations to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education [BESE] on Feb. 13, 2017. BESE will then study suggested changes at its March meeting.

The big question is: Who are those 85 people who were appointed by “Louisiana’s top school board” to review the state’s science standards? The article says:

The Science Standards Review Committee will be 17 percent minority, said state Superintendent of Education John White. “It is highly balanced,” White told BESE members.

It’s lovely that they claim it’s “balanced,” but that doesn’t tell us anything. Let’s read on:

A 39-member standards committee will oversee the work. In addition, a 35-member working group will review science standards for kindergarten through eighth grade and a 28-member panel will update high school science benchmarks.

It’s a model of political efficiency. In the article’s final paragraph, we’re given a hint about the identify of the panel members:

The lineup includes Keith Leger, Louisiana Stand for Children; Wade Warren, Louisiana Family Forum; Jeanne Burns, Louisiana Board of Regents; Scott Devillier, superintendent of the Zachary School District and officials of a variety of science and math organizations.

Wade Warren? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We wrote about him in Louisiana Legislature Used Creation Science Witnesses. It’s not surprising to learn that he’s with the Louisiana Family Forum. That group promoted and actively supported the Louisiana Science Education Act. Wikipedia says:

The group’s stated mission is to “persuasively present biblical principles in the centers of influence on issues affecting the family through research, communication and networking.”

Who else is on the panel? The newspaper doesn’t say, but we found a link disclosing a list of Proposed Nominees. We don’t recognize most of those names, but on the second page, one certainly stands out. It’s third from the end: John Oller, a creationist. You may recall him from some of our posts last year — for example: Ken Ham Supports John Oller’s Lawsuit.

Well, dear reader, Louisiana’s Superintendent of Education John White said of his science standards review panel: “It is highly balanced,” We shudder to think of their final product. Whatever it is, it’s unlikely to teach science to Louisiana’s children.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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4 responses to “Louisiana’s Science Standards Review Panel

  1. No reason to have the kids actually learn something, is there?

  2. This process is probably going to be a real zoo. It looks like the process is stacked against good science, but who knows. I’m not going to hold my breath. LaLa Land, it’s not just California any more.

  3. It never was, or there wouldn’t have been a Scopes trial. And yes, I know that was in Tennessee, not Louisiana–but then, that’s the point: cuckoos are everywhere.

  4. I predict that it will be balanced between fact and fiction, and will recommend that both be taught as true