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New Orleans School Board Votes to Ban Creationism in Schools, Textbooks

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By Myles Collier, Christian Post Contributor
December 20, 2012|2:24 pm

A school district in Louisiana has banned any reference of creationism in textbooks that presents the theory as equal to the widely held theory of evolution rekindling the long debate between those on both sides of the issue.

On Tuesday, the Orleans Parish School Board, which oversees six schools, voted in favor of a new policy that was proposed by outgoing president Thomas Robichaux. The policy amendment aims at keeping religious theory out of science classes as well as preventing changes to certain areas of the curriculum in the future.

The new language in the school board's policy covers aspects of the school curriculum, the textbook and teachers, as a way to limit the teaching of creationism and creationist theory.

"To teach anything but scientific theory in a science class is just wrong for our kids. The (Louisiana Science Education Act) is a direct attack on our children's future and this is a direct defense to that," Robichaux told WLTV.

However, opponents of the new measures claim that schools should not limit the information that is presented to students and have cited "academic freedom" as a way to show that limiting what children are taught is unconstitutional.

"If you shut out one, you're limiting the constitutional right of freedom of religion," one parent who wished to remain anonymous told WLTV.

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Still the new guidelines were passed setting up a showdown with the school board members and those who support the teaching of creationist theory along with evolution.

"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," read the amendment.

The second aspect of the new guidelines dealt with 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."

The new measures came about in part as a response to changes made by the Texas State Board of Education in 2010 which adopted guidelines that permitted the teaching of creationism and evolution in the same class.

"We want to make sure kids are taught history that has been properly vetted by academics and prepared for their consumption … I have no problem teaching [religion] in a religion or philosophy class, but the science class is not the appropriate place for it," Robichaux told bestofneworleansblog.com.

 

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