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Louisiana Passes Rules Implementing Historic Academic Freedom Act

Anika Smith

The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) voted unanimously to adopt rules today implementing the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA), the landmark academic freedom bill passed last summer.
The rules approved by the BESE effectuate the academic freedom bill’s purpose to allow teachers to use supplementary materials to teach controversial scientific theories without threat of recrimination.
A subcommittee of the Board removed a provision prohibiting intelligent design before passing the rules unanimously. The legally redundant provision would have gone beyond the intent of the legislation and was dropped after the subcommittee heard testimony from supporters and opponents of the language.
In adopting these rules, the BESE reiterated its support for academic freedom for teachers to teach controversial scientific theories.
According to Discovery Institute education policy analyst Casey Luskin, “This is another victory for Louisiana students and teachers to have a climate of academic freedom to learn about scientific controversies over evolution and other topics in the curriculum.”
Several Louisiana scientists testified in favor of academic freedom of evolution-education, including biologist Wade Warren, biochemist Brenda Peirson, and chemistry professor Joshua Williams.
Louisiana biology teacher Patsy Peebles testified in favor of the language prohibiting intelligent design. When she falsely claimed that ID had been banned by the U.S. Supreme Court, attorney John Wells corrected her, reminding the BESE that the Supreme Court has not ruled on intelligent design.
Stay tuned to Evolution News & Views for more as the story develops.