Most states have their share of ludicrous legislation that very few, if any, people take seriously. This legislation is introduced and supported by a public official who was voted into office by the people to take care of the people’s interest. As I’ve discussed in a previous post, not everyone elected serves in the best interest of the people who elected them.
The State of Louisiana has an ample share of legislation that makes little to no sense. Some of it is laughable but occasionally there is legislation that is harmful to the long term well being of the people of the state. The Louisiana Science Education Act, R.S. 17:285.1 is one such piece of legislation passed by the Louisiana legislature in 2008. In a nutshell, the intent of this law is to allow the teaching of Creationism, including Intelligent Design, in public school science classes in Louisiana. In an analysis of the bill, Barbara Forrest, Professor of Philosophy, Southeastern Louisiana University, concluded “this is a stealth creationism bill” (http://www.lasciencecoalition.org/docs/Forrest_UpdatedAnalysis_SB_733_6.5.08.pdf).
Sen. Ben Nevers introduced it on behalf of the LA Family Forum (LFF), the LA affiliate of the Religious Right organization Focus on the Family. The LFF actively promotes creationism on its website (see LFF’s “Origins Science Textbook Addendum” at http://www.lafamilyforum.org/site10001/1001014/docs/origin~1.pdf).
Since 2010, Zack Kopplin, a bright and far sighted high school senior at Baton Rouge (LA) Magnet School, has lead the fight to repeal this law. He formed a group simply called, Louisiana Students for Science Education. The group’s mission is clear. In their own words:
- Our mission is to repeal the misnamed and misguided Louisiana Science Education Act through Louisiana’s Legislature.
- We pledge to organize Louisiana’s Scientists, Clergy, Teachers, Students, and Business Leaders in support of repealing the Louisiana Science Education Act.
- We will send letters and petitions to the legislature in support of repealing the Louisiana Science Education Act.
- We will organize campaigns to call our legislators to convince them that the Louisiana Science Education Act needs to be repealed.
- We will fight to make sure Louisiana’s public school children are taught proper science that will prepare them to be successful in the global economy.
Zack has been joined by State Senator Karen Carter Peterson, who is leading the charge to have the bill repealed in the state Senate. Once it passes in the Senate, Rep. Walt Leger will handle the house version. Zack has gained wide ranging support for his progressive movement for change. In fact, 42 Nobel Laureate’s are among the many who have signed a letter in support of his efforts. Others who have taken a stand for quality education based on science that has been rigorously tested and defended include clergy, educators, and scientists. The list of supporters is long and growing. To learn more about this critical social movement or see how you can help visit their website, http://www.repealcreationism.com/.