Yesterday, the fight to Repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act won an important battle. In only our second attempt to overturn this anachronistic legislation
The Senate Education Committee took up the Repeal with only 4 members present on the dais, the minimum for a quorum. At the outset, it was clear that several members wanted to avoid voting to retain this law. Last year, the same Committee boldly voted 6-1 to scuttle the repeal. This year, however, despite an extensive agenda during which other members were present, several walked out in the hall during the Repeal debate. Once again, Zack Kopplin effectively articulated the crux of the repeal effort:
Take it from the experts. 78 Nobel laureate scientists. Listen to your teachers. TheLouisiana Science Teacher’s Association called this law a “dramatic step backwards.” The National Associaton fo Biology Teachers and the Louisiana Assocation of Biology Educators have joined them in calling for a repeal. Listen to science organizations. The repeal has been endorsed by the largest science organization in the world, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, with over 10 million members. Scientists are against this law nad teachers are against this law. Who do you trust to educate our students in science?“
Senator Dan Claitor amended the Repeal bill (SB 374) to repeal further language in Louisiana law, Louisiana RS 17:286.4, which provides explictly for “balanced treatment of creation-based science,” and which has already determined to be unconstitutional. This amendment was accepted without objection by the Education Committee. You can learn more about how this previous creationism law, passed in 1981, was ruled unconstitutional by the United State Supreme Court, here.
In the end, the Senate Education Committee defeated passage of the bill by a close vote of 1-2, with Senator Claitor voting in favor. The Chairman exercised his right not to vote.
The Repeal will return next year, and each year, until we defeat this law. It is the right thing to do for our students, our state and our future.