Wednesday, December 19, 2012

New Orleans Schools Reject Texas-Style Creationism

A Louisiana school district voted on Wednesday to ban from its schools any textbooks and school curricula that follows the guidelines of Texas’ extreme, ideological standards.

Texas approved a hard-right curriculum in 2010 that allowed teachers to convey inaccurate information to their students. But Orleans Parish (which covers New Orleans) schools were so worried about the spread of misinformation that it approved explicit rules in protest of Texas’s guidelines, requiring teachers to teach accurate historical and scientific information omitted by the Texas rules:

“No history textbook shall be approved which has been adjusted in accordance with the State of Texas revisionist guidelines nor shall any science textbook be approved which presents creationism or intelligent design as science or scientific theories…No teacher of any discipline of science shall teach any aspect of religious faith as science or in a science class,” it reads. “No teacher of any discipline of science shall teach creationism or intelligent design in classes designated as science classes.”

Though Texas cannot legally require the teaching of creationism, Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) has said “we teach both creation and evolution our public schools” as a consequence of his policy choices and permissive school-board rules.

Two years ago, proposed Texas textbook changes sparked outrage by rewriting history along right-wing lines and minimizing slavery. While not fully successful, the watered-down version still conveyed an entirely skewed vision of history. A recent review of the books, for example, found a consistent pattern of viciously negative portrayals of Muslims and Islam.

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