Politicians in Louisiana have once again set aside science and quality education to placate fringe political interests. As regular readers of the AIBS Public Policy Report are aware, for months politicians in Baton Rouge have been wrangling to secure passage of SB 733. The intent of this legislation, assert experts familiar with the organizations and individuals that have pushed the measure, is to establish a framework that would allow local teachers and school districts to include religious explanations for natural phenomena in science classrooms. The curricular targets, not surprisingly, include evolution and climate change.
According to a recent report by the National Center for Science Education: “Over the protests of leading scientific organizations such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Institute of Biological Sciences, Louisiana's governor Bobby Jindal signed Senate Bill 733 into law, twenty-seven years after the state passed its Balanced Treatment for Evolution-Science and Creation-Science Act, a law overturned by the Supreme Court in 1987. News of Jindal's approval of the bill was buried in a press release issued on June 25, 2008, in which Jindal listed seventy-five bills he recently signed. SB 733 will, according to Houma Today (June 27, 2008), "empower educators to pull religious beliefs into topics like evolution, cloning and global warming by introducing supplemental materials."
Various state and national organizations have already indicated that lawsuits will be filed if teachers and local school districts attempt to introduce religious content into science classes, a practice that has repeatedly been ruled unconstitutional be the courts.
For more information about previous AIBS and AIBS member statements on SB 733, please go to http://www.aibs.org/position-statements/.
For additional coverage, please visit the National Center for
Science Education (www.ncseweb.org) or the Louisiana Coalition for Science at (http://lasciencecoalition.org/).
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