On Tuesday, March 7, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted in committee on proposed science standards. They confirmed their adoption the following day. In a 7-2 vote, they added the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA) to the standards. Then, the Board voted unanimously to adopt the standards as amended.
Gene Mills, president of the Louisiana Family Forum, commented:
I am encouraged that the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education recognized the wisdom of the Louisiana Science Education Act, and saw fit to educate and empower science teachers with its rich provisions. Encouraging teachers “to assist students to understand, analyze, critique, and objectively review scientific theories being studied” promotes understanding and supports student engagement in the disciplines of science. This is an enormous step forward for Louisiana education and the state as a whole.
This action came after Dr. Wade Warren, professor of biology at Louisiana College, spent months trying to ensure accurate evolution standards. His was the lone dissenting vote at the Standards Committee meeting last month. At the BESE meeting, Warren explained the scientific evidence for claims made in several specific life science standards on evolution.
Dr. Warren noted:
Although this was a positive step, the standards on evolutionary biology are still not acceptable. There are multiple places they do not reflect correct, up-to-date science. The public should weigh in on these standards during the 120-day review period.
The LSEA, authored by Senator Ben Nevers (D), is a 2008 academic freedom law based on the model academic freedom bill prepared by the Center for Science & Culture. It passed 94-3 in the House and unanimously in the Senate.