« Curriculum Matters: Shut Down on Saturday | Main | Department's Math, Science, Adviser to White House »

Louisiana Rules on Evolution Teaching Materials Move Forward


When Louisiana officials recently passed a new law governing the classroom materials that can be used to cover evolution lessons, some predicted that controversy—and possibly lawsuits—would follow. Now a committee of the state board of education has signed off on new rules that seek to clarify how complaints and challenges stemming from the law will be handled in school districts.

Whether those rules clarify things, or merely roil the waters on the bayou, remains to be seen.

Here's the background:

Last year, Louisiana's legislature and Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal enacted a law that allows teachers to use supplemental classroom materials that will help students "analyze, critique, and review" scientific theories, including evolution. (The law also says teachers can use those materials for discussions of the "origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.") The measure specifies that teachers can use materials "as permitted by the city, parish, or other local public school board," but it also left it to Louisiana's Elementary and Secondary Board of Education to create rules and regulations for carrying out the law.

That's what a committee of the board recently set out to do. According to the Baton Rouge Advocate, which has been doggedly following the issue, if a parent or member of the public complains about a supplementary material, a five-member panel will be set up to review that objection. The panel will consist of two reviewers named by the department and one reviewer each named by the challenger, the school, and the publisher, according to the story. The panel is supposed to judge the materials on whether they "promote any religious doctrine," are "scientifically sound," and are grade-appropriate.

How do you foresee the new law playing out in Louisiana's science classrooms? Will the state's review process resemble what went on in Texas this year, with the state board debating the merits of the language in standards and textbooks? Given that seemingly any Louisiana district could propose a supplementary material—and anybody could challenge its scientific basis—will state hearings on these issues become a regular thing?


Is Louisiana competing for the title of America's stupidest state along with Kansas, Florida, and (especially) Texas regarding the teaching of evolution in public schools? Evolution has SO MUCH evidence of SO MANY different types that to deny it has happened is akin to lunacy. One might as well insist on reviewing materials that teach whether or not the earth is flat. It is THAT stupid! Good job, Bobby Jindal! I know for sure to vote against you if you ever run for President.

Chris echo's the refrain of Naturalism; we KNOW our belief is right, our belief is SCIENCE, our belief is PROVEN, so we demand that no opposing views, evidence, nor science be presented in the schools which might expose our children to any other ideas.

What Louisiana is doing is promoting critical thinking; expose the children to the FACTS, expose them to the SCIENCE, and let THEM decide which is true, based on the EVIDENCE rather than on censorship.

Diamonds have C14, Chris.
So does oil, coal, etc.
And none of them should have ANY measurable amount, if the earth is as old as is being claimed by those that require vast ages to account for changes which they speculate happened in some inwitnessed and unrecorded past.

Come and discuss it at my discussion group, Talk About Origins, linked to my name below.

Chris's vehemence demonstrates his desperation. I have a MA in English, not science so I'm not qualified to teach him science. But his theory does a miserable job accounting for the origin of information (something my English major does equip me to discuss). I won't say the ignorance of the scientific establishment is stupid or even intentional (though it's likely), but I must say that challenging their material explanation of origins must be done. To say that genetic information equivalent to volumes of encyclopedias just happened over any time frame (punctuated or gradual)is no longer acceptable.

The Louisiana law, as I understand it, doesn't allow any religious or non-religious bias when considering the arguments against Darwinian evolution. We all know the bias has been in the secularist camp for several decades. Any question of their secularistic prowess will be met with hostility. Sad but true.

Nonetheless, if the subject is understandable to the student, then why not open up the world of free thinking, allowing to children the opportunity to consider the taboo: evidence and facts against evolution. It's refreshing, not stupid.

Comments are now closed for this post.

Follow This Blog


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments

  • Linda: My problem with homework is they give too much and read more
  • Seo Article Writer: Hello I just see your site when I am searching read more
  • Car Insurance Guy: Ah!!! at last I found what I was looking for. read more
  • cyptoreopully: Hey there everyone i was just introduceing myself here im read more
  • Connie Wms: Good grief. We have gone round and round forever with read more