Zack Coplin in Slate:
When a student in Louisiana opens her textbook in biology class, she might not have the standard Miller and Levine Biology with a dragonfly on the cover, and she might not ever learn about evolution. 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.” Another email was sent by Bossier High School assistant principal Doug Scott to Michael Stacy, a biology teacher at that school. “I enjoyed the visit to your class today as you discussed evolution and creationism in a full spectrum of thought,” Scott wrote. “Thank you for the rich content as you bring various sources to bear in your curriculum.” The Louisiana Science Education Act, passed by the state legislature in 2008, permits science teachers to use supplemental materials to “critique” evolution, opening a backdoor that these teachers are using, as intended, to teach creationism. Such lessons are allowed under this Louisiana law, but they are illegal under federal law.