Louisiana has a lot of problems when it comes to education. Governor Bobby Jindal, for example, passed a voucher plan over the summer that would give more than $11,000,000 of taxpayer money to private schools that teach Creationism, despite the fact that their curriculums wouldn’t meet the state’s science standards.
But one school district has taken a big step toward making science education better for students.
Earlier tonight, the Orleans Parish School Board voted to amend the way they select their textbooks in the district. Previously, the Superintendent had the final say in “all textbooks and supplementary instructional” that would be used, with optional input from teachers and administrators.
Tonight, the board decided to add a new caveat to that policy (PDF):
No history textbook shall be approved which has been adjusted in accordance with the State of Texas revisionist guidelines nor shall any science textbook be approved which presents creationism or intelligent design as science or scientific theories
They just forbade the adoption of any textbook that promotes Christian nonsense under the guise of science or history. That’s *huge*.
In addition, the board adopted a policy that would change the way curriculums are set in the district:
No teacher of any discipline of science shall teach any aspect of religious faith as science or in a science class. No teacher of any discipline of science shall teach creationism or intelligent design in classes designated as science classes.
OPSB passes ban on Creationism in science classes and science textbooks, and bans revisionist history textbooks.#repealthelsea
— Thomas A. Robichaux (@trobichaux) December 19, 2012
Considering that the New Orleans City Council unanimously struck down the Louisiana Science Education Act (that allowed Creationism to sneak into the classroom) back in May, the way the city is handling science education should serve as a model for other progressive districts in the state.
If only Governor Jindal cared about proper science education as much as this school board did.
***Update***: After the American Humanist Association urged its members to contact Thomas Robichaux and thank him, Robichaux responded with this message:
To all of the members of the American Humanist Association: Thank you so very much for all of the notes of support and and thanks regarding the Orleans Parish School Board passing our policies banning religion in science classes. The response to this has been overwhelming! As school board members, our jobs are usually thankless. Once again I thank you for showing your support and appreciation. These policies have been long overdue, and I am very proud to have gotten them passed before my term of office ends.
(via Zack Kopplin)