A controversial “creationism act” has allowed teachers in Louisiana to replace science textbooks with the Holy Bible in their curriculum, reported Slate.
In the Bossier Parish school district, teachers are having their students read from the book of Genesis while teaching creationism as fact in an attempt to debunk evolution. Emails obtained by Slate through a public records request shows teachers coordinating the change with school principals.
“We will read in Genesis and them [sic] some supplemental material debunking various aspects of evolution from which the students will present,” said Shawna Creamer, Airline High School science teacher.
Traditionally, teachers are instructed to present the aspects of creationism and evolution as theories that haven’t been totally proven.
The Louisiana Science Education Act was passed in 2008 and permits teachers to provide “supplemental materials” to “critique” evolution. However, the law opened a loophole that has allowed teachers to throw out science entirely and teach straight from religious texts. Doing so is federally unconstitutional.
“We know that one in eight high school biology teachers advocate for creationism,” 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.”
Louisiana lawmakers on both sides have nicknamed the Science Education Act the “creationism act.”
Educators have not acted independently. Slate reported that state Rep. Thomas Carmody (R), and co-sponsor of the Science Education Act, repeatedly contacted school districts to follow up on their compliance.
“I appreciate your expediting the confirmation of your district’s effort to comply with the stipulations outlined in the Louisiana Science Education Act,” Carmody emailed to the Bossier Parish school district.
This isn’t the first time Carmody tried to inject religion into state politics.
Last year, Carmody introduced a bill to the state legislature that would make the Holy Bible the official state book. After criticism from both Republicans and Democrats, he withdrew the bill.