Louisiana’s Science Standards — 07 March Update

The slow and painfully predictable process of updating the state’s science education standards that we last wrote about in Louisiana’s Science Standards — Update is nearing its inevitable conclusion.

The first thing you need to keep in mind is that Louisiana was the first (of only two) states to enact the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act (the LSEA), which is modeled after the Discovery Institute’s creationist oriented Academic Freedom bill.

Against that background, the state has been working on a plan to revise its science education standards — which are among the oldest in the nation. The plan involved 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 committee was scheduled to make its recommendations to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) on 13 Feb 2017. BESE would then study the suggested changes at its March meeting.

As we informed you in our earlier post, the preliminary panel has finished its work. On the surface, things looked good. They rejected the recommendations of the arch-creationist, Wade Warren. However, the panel’s recommendations included his demands as a creationist appendix. The panel recommendations were scheduled to be voted on by BESE when it met on March 7-8.

Now we have the latest results in this amazingly tedious process, reported in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Their headline is Louisiana school board nods to creationism in science standards vote.

What else did you expect? We’re talking about Louisiana, where there’s a creationist behind every tree, under every rock, and in every seat in the state’s legislature. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Louisiana’s top school board is poised to rewrite the state’s two-decades-old science standards for public schools, after a debate that veered into disagreements over evolution. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, known as BESE, gave preliminary support Tuesday (March 7) to the standards, which were drawn up by a review committee packed largely with local educators.

Okay, what happened? We’re told:

With a 9-0 vote, a panel of nearly all BESE members agreed to the standards revisions. But support came only after language was added to remind educators about a Louisiana law that allows public school science teachers to use supplemental materials in their classrooms. Supporters of the addition wanted the language included as a way to encourage teachers to challenge evolution in their science classrooms.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Then the Times-Picayune says:

Gene Mills, president of the conservative Louisiana Family Forum, said evolution is referenced 25 times in the standards, but with no mention of “opposing theories.”

Gasp — in Louisiana, that’s an outrage! Let’s read on:

Science teachers urged the education board to adopt the rewritten benchmarks without language challenging evolution. “These standards are not based on biased opinions, but are supported by years and years of scientific research,” said Kyle Duhon, a science teacher at Jennings High School who helped work on the standards revamp.

BESE doesn’t care what those Darwinists think. This is Louisiana! The news story continues:

BESE members voted 7-2 to include information from the state law in the standards, before the committee then approved the full package without dissent. The board is expected to give final passage to the standards Wednesday.

How wonderful! The standards will remind the state’s teachers that they are free to include Oogity Boogity in all their science lessons. Skipping to the end, the newspaper reminds us:

Louisiana ranks poorly in national comparisons of science testing results.

So there you are, dear reader. The process isn’t over yet, but it appears that in revising its science standards, Louisiana will remain true to its creationist heritage. The Discoveroids must be overjoyed.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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5 responses to “Louisiana’s Science Standards — 07 March Update

  1. Ross Cameron

    U.S.A. The most scientifically-advanced nation in the world—–and among the most retarded.

  2. Ceteris Paribus

    That is true, but needs a bit of editorial clarification.
    “U.S.A. The most scientifically-advanced nation in the world—–[with due respect to the substantial inputs made to US science by transplants from India, Pakistan, UK, various Islamic states, former Soviet states, refuges from Nazi Germany, and etc,] –and among the most retarded. [as in the context of US science standards for public education]”

  3. “Supplemental materials,” eh? Well, “supplemental” means “added to enhance or complete” something, and I think a case can be made that creationist quackery doesn’t qualify.

  4. Barbara Forrest

    What the media are reporting is not an accurate description of what happened at the BESE meeting concerning the new Louisiana science standards. Here is a clarification of what actually happened as I understand it. But first, understand that NO changes have been made to the life science standards that the work groups drafted and the review committee approved. **The standards are fine.** (And the 8th-grade and high school life science standards were the only ones that creationists were trying to change.) At the March 7 BESE meeting (which technically was a meeting of the Academic Goals and Instructional Improvement Committee), the board held two votes. The 9-0 vote was to accept the science standards *as written* by the work groups and approved by the review committee *without any changes.* That means that creationist alterations suggested by one review committee member, Wade Warren from Louisiana College, were rejected by both the review committee on which he served (Feb 13) and BESE (March 7). Then BESE held a separate vote of 7-2 to include §285.1.B.(1) of the LA Science Education Act in **Bulletin 1962,** which is a document that outlines what BESE approved concerning the science standards. Bulletin 1962 is simply a basic list of the performance expectations in the standards. This document is NOT the standards that teachers will actually use. The drafts of the approved standards are available on the BESE website, and they are exactly what good science education requires. The minutes of the meeting are not yet posted, and there is still the 120-day public comment period. If anything changes or if I find out I have made any mistakes, I will update my comment.