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New Orleans schools ban creationism and ‘revisionist’ history in rebuke of Texas

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, December 19, 2012 9:56 EDT
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A child studies evolution. Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.
 
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The school board for Orleans Parish in Louisiana voted Tuesday night to ban the teaching of creationism as science and what they called a “revisionist” history curriculum promoted by the state of Texas.

None of the six schools run by the board actually teach creationism, according to The Times-Picayune, but outgoing Orleans Parish School Board President Thomas Robichaux felt strongly about the measure (PDF) anyway, which passed in two parts.

The first policy change pertains to the selection of textbooks. “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,” it reads.

The second policy change prohibits teachers from taking the matter into their own hands. “No teacher of any discipline of science shall teach any aspect of religious faith as science or in a science class,” it reads. “No teacher of any discipline of science shall teach creationism or intelligent design in classes designated as science classes.”

The school district is not alone in pushing back against growing religious and conservative influence on science and history curriculum. When education officials in Texas began altering textbooks to reflect right-wing and religious viewpoints, lawmakers in California acted quickly to pass a bill that bans the state’s revisionist standards in California schools.

The debate, of course, did not start with Texas, although the nation’s second-largest state has done more than any other in recent years to lead actual changes in school curriculum. Officials in other states are particularly concerned about Texas’s changes because the state can tend to influence how the nation’s most widely accepted textbooks are written.
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Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.

(H/T: The Friendly Atheist)

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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