Common Core, Science, and Louisiana

For the record, here’s my thoughts on the Common Core:

…I don’t oppose a national curriculum or annual testing: as I’ve written repeatedly, I do think we should be using Massachusetts’ curriculum and tests (including the importance–not so important–that used* to be granted to them). But the implementation of the Common Core-based tests and the high-stakes attached to them are something I don’t support, along with shoddiness of the Common Core standards.

And then we read this about creationism in Louisiana (boldface mine):

For some Louisiana public school students, their science textbook is the Bible, and in biology class they read the Book of Genesis to learn the “creation point of view.”

Through a public records request, I obtained dozens of emails from the Bossier Parish school district that specifically discuss teaching creationism. Shawna Creamer, a science teacher at Airline High School, sent an email to the principal, Jason Rowland, informing him of which class periods she would use to teach creationism. “We will read in Genesis and them [sic] some supplemental material debunking various aspects of evolution from which the students will present,” Creamer wrote.

In another email exchange with Rowland, a parent had complained that a different teacher, Cindy Tolliver, actually taught that evolution was a “fact.” This parent complained that Tolliver was “pushing her twisted religious beliefs onto the class.” Principal Rowland responded, “I can assure you this will not happen again.”

It would seem to me if Common Core advocates are going to advocate for, well, a Common Core, then they should say something about the warping of the science curriculum in Louisiana. Oddly, they are quiet. While the Republican base has recently become very angry over the Common Core, Republican politicians have been big supporters of the Common Core and PARCC tests (thar’s gold in thar them hills!)–Jeb Bush comes to mind–though the more politically savvy ones have been shifting against the Common Core*.

Still, if the argument is that this is about the kids, then maybe Common Core advocates should say something on behalf of science in the classroom?

In light of reformers’ previous track record, I’m guessing probably not.

An aside: The teacher who will not be teaching evolution as a fact–that’s why teachers need tenure (which in the K-12 setting only means they must be fired with cause).

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1 Response to Common Core, Science, and Louisiana

  1. John Kane
    jrkrideau says:

    I’ve always thought that if you need to teach something other than evolution, then Greek “creation science” would be a good alternative.

    Does Louisiana specialize in electing really stupid people or are they just lucky?

    I was impressed a few years ago when they started up a program to fund religiously based schools and discovered to their shock that the first applicant for funding was a Muslim madrassa. I thought it was hilarious.

    It was obvious that a muslim or hindu or could qualify for funding considering how they had crafted the law but apparently the lawmakers were a bit shaken and didn’t think their fundamentalist christian supporters would be impressed. 🙂

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