Teaching of Evolution Undermined in Louisiana

Silencing Science Tracker

Teaching of Evolution Undermined in Louisiana

On March 7, 2017, the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) held a meeting to discuss proposed new science education standards. Discussions at the meeting reportedly centered on the treatment of evolution in the standards. Many of the attendees expressed concern that the standards do not require the teaching of any “opposing theories,” such as creationism, and called for such a requirement to be added. The board rejected those calls. It did, however, vote to amend a supporting document (known as Bulletin 1962) which provides school district with an overview of the BESE standards. The amendment references the Louisiana Science Education Act, which calls on state and local administrators to help promote “critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of theories being studies including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”

Science education groups have expressed concern that the amendment will undermine science education, encouraging teachers to present the theory of creation alongside the theory of evolution, potentially causing students to believe that the two are equally valid from a scientific perspective, and/or to question the science of evolution.

UpdateOn March 8, 2017, BESE voted to approve the draft science standards. The approved standards included several sections discussing evolution and did not include any mention of creationism or other “opposing theories.”


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