Statement to the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, Baton Rouge, December 7, 2010
The Louisiana 2008 Science Education Act created certain parameters. The purpose of this act was to guarantee the students in our state’s educational institutions the capacity for open inquiry of the various science disciplines.
The goal of the act was to create and foster an environment that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis and open and objective discussion of scientific perspectives. This statute clearly established parameters for acceptable textbooks. The textbooks cannot be tilted toward a biased perspective. Therefore, acceptable textbooks cannot embrace Darwinianism over young earth theorists, nor can the texts propagate an orderly creationist perspective over a chaotic mutation. The religious extremists touting humanistic naturalism must be sidelined just as much as the traditionalists so that our teaching professionals can guide students in their understanding natural phenomenon from various perspectives.
The open inquiry process requires students to conduct research investigations by formulating questions, developing hypothesis, conducting experiments, recording data, analyzing data and drawing conclusions. However, students cannot be limited by a guided, preconceived set of theoretical assumptions. Students need the fundamentals, not indoctrination from naturalist or traditionalists.
Allow me to encourage the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) to support a motion to postpone science textbook adoption until the 2008 science education statute has had sufficient time to permeate the publishing process. Current materials were developed long before 2008 and are infected with pre-2008 Science Education Act inconsistencies.
A delay gives publishers the time to understand the importance our state places on making room at the table for the mosaic of scientific perspectives necessary for equipping our students with today’s scientific data and principles.