Friday, December 01, 2006


Lost in the Bayous

In Louisiana, the Ouachita Parish School Board has approved a policy regarding the teaching of evolutionary theory that cribs from the defeated Santorum Amendment (by the defeated Rick Santorum) to the No Child Left Behind Act, to the effect that:
Where topics are taught that may generate controversy (such as biological evolution), the curriculum should help students to understand the full range of scientific views that exist, why such topics may generate controversy, and how scientific discoveries can profoundly affect society.
The school board's policy holds that "teachers shall be permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific theories ..." You can see the full policy here.

This is straight out of the Discovery Institute's playbook on how to teach ID without seeming to, Intelligent Design in Public School Science Curricula: A Legal Guidebook, by David K. DeWolf, Stephen C. Meyer, Mark E. DeForrest, including the same quote mining of the Supreme Court from Edwards v. Aguillard. All it takes is compliant teachers and a wink and a nod from the school board.

As I've noted before, I think this strategy has a hard row to hoe to pass Constitutional muster. Merely expanding the list slightly to include a few more subjects also unpopular with certain religious groups distinctly resembles pig lipstick. It will get even more problematical once school boards and parents start applying pressure to teachers. The question may well be what will the teachers do?

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