In Louisiana, students read the Book of Genesis in their science classes
When a student in Louisiana opens his or her textbook in biology class, he or she may not learn about evolution but the "creation point of view" instead.
For some Louisiana public school students, their science textbook is the Bible. They read the Book of Genesis in their biology class.
Zach Kopplin of Slate.com was able to acquire several emails from the Bossier Parish which discussed the teaching of creationism.
Shawna Creamer, a science teacher at Airline High School, emailed the principal, Jason Rowland, and informed him of which class periods she would teach creationism. Creamer wrote, "We will read in Genesis and them [sic] some supplemental material debunking various aspects of evolution from which the students will present."
A parent complained in another email thread with the principal that a certain teacher, Cindy Tolliver, taught her students that evolution is a "fact." The parent complained that the teacher was "pushing her twisted religious beliefs onto the class." Principal Rowland then assured the parent that it will not happen again.
Another email sent by Bossier High School assistant principal Doug Scott said, "I enjoyed the visit to your class today as you discussed evolution and creationism in a full spectrum of thought. Thank you for the rich content as you bring various sources to bear in your curriculum." The letter was addressed to Michael Stacy, a biology teacher in the school.
The Louisiana Science Education Act, which was passed by the state legislature in 2008, allows teacher to use other materials to "critique" evolution. This state law opened doors for teachers to teach creationism. Though illegal under federal law, the lessons are permitted under Louisiana law.
"We know that one in eight high school biology teachers advocate for creationism, even though it's unconstitutional," said Josh Rosenau of the National Center for Science Education.
"These emails make clear that many teachers are interpreting the Louisiana Science Education Act as allowing such unconstitutional and scientifically-misleading lessons," he added.
Last April 22, the Louisiana Senate Education Committee voted to repeal the Science Education Act, referred to by many as the "creationism act."
It was the fifth vote since 2010, and legislators voted 4-3 to retain the teaching of creationism in Louisiana classrooms.
Louisiana politicians support the Science Education Act because they intended it to permit teaching of creationism in the classroom. Gov. Bobby Jindal, who signed the act for creationism, asked, "What are we scared of?"
State Sen. Ben Nevers said he vouched for the bill in the Senate because "creationism should be discussed when dealing with Darwin's theory."