Skip navigation.
The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2012/07/27

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

Louisiana is about to fund the teaching of creationism to the tune of
11.6 million dollars, according to a young activist. Plus a reminder
that NCSE speakers are ready, willing, and able to discuss evolution
and climate education.


Louisiana is about to spend almost twelve million dollars to fund the
teaching of creationism, charges Zack Kopplin, famous for organizing
the effort to repeal the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act. In
Kopplin's sights now is a controversial new voucher program in the
state that uses public school funds to pay for tuition and certain
fees at private schools for students who attend low-performing public
schools and whose family income is below 250% of the federal poverty
level. When the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education considered
a set of accountability guidelines for such private schools at its
July 24, 2012, meeting, Kopplin testified that of the roughly 6600
spaces available for students under the program, 1350 will be filled,
as the Lafayette Independent Weekly (July 26, 2012) described it, "at
private Christian schools that teach creationism and peg evolution as
'false science.'?

According to the Alexandria Town Talk (July 25, 2012), "A number of
the schools on the voucher list teach creationism, a doctrine that
holds that God created all life out of nothing, and either don?t
mention the theory of evolution or teach that it is false science.
State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education policy on teaching
science requires that public schools teach what is in textbooks but
they can supplement with BESE-approved material to promote 'critical
thinking' on alternatives to evolution." Superintendent of Education
John C. White told the newspaper that BESE had approved the curriculum
for all of the schools. "Not teaching evolution could show up in the
required state testing for students receiving vouchers, he said, and
there could be repercussions 'if a school shows a fundamental
disregard' for conducting the test."

Writing earlier in the New Orleans Times-Picayune (July 18, 2012)
about Kopplin's research on the private schools expected to receive
new students through the voucher program, columnist James Gill
commented, "It is impossible to prepare fully for such a massive
reform as going voucher, and some undeserving private schools are
bound to receive an OK from harried state officials. But a religious
takeover on this scale cannot be accidental. Of the schools on Zack
Kopplin's list, one believes that scientists are 'sinful men,' and
declares its view 'on the age of the earth and other issues is that
any theory that goes against God's word is in error.' Another avers
that evolution is 'extremely damaging to children individually and to
society as a whole.' A third tells students to write an essay
explaining how 'the complexity of a cell shows it must be purposefully
designed.' And so it goes."

The creationist instructional material used by such schools include
textbooks from Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Books -- which
were described by the University of California system in the ACSI v.
Stearns case as "inappropriate for use as primary texts in college
preparatory science courses due to their characterizations of
religious doctrine as scientific evidence, scientific inaccuracies,
failure to encourage critical thinking, and overall un-scientific
approach" -- and Accelerated Christian Education. A textbook from ACE
that argued against evolution on the grounds that the Loch Ness
monster not only exists but also is a living plesiosaur (incorrectly
described as a dinosaur) understandably attracted the attention of The
Scotsman (June 25, 2012) and was widely ridiculed nationally and

The voucher program is presently under legal challenge from the
Louisiana Association of Educators and the Louisiana Federation of
Teachers along with a number of local school boards. But the issue of
the state's funding the teaching of creationism is not part of the
challenge. Rather, as the New Orleans Times-Picayune (July 10, 2012)
explained, "Two key issues are at play in the voucher suit: whether
providing private schools with money from the Minimum Foundation
Program violates the [Louisiana state] constitution by redirecting
those funds from public schools, and whether a last-minute vote
setting the new MFP formula in place received enough support in the
state House to carry the force of law." The state will be allowed to
implement the voucher program while the challenge works its way
through the court system, the newspaper reported.

For the article in the Lafayette Independent Weekly, visit: 

For the article in the Alexandria Town Talk, visit: 

For James Gill's column in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, visit: 

For NCSE's collection of material from ACSI v. Stearns, visit: 

For the article in The Scotsman, visit: 

For the article on the challenge to the voucher program in the New
Orleans Times-Picayune, visit: 

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Louisiana, visit: 


As the only national organization that is wholly dedicated to
defending the teaching of evolution and climate change, NCSE is the
perfect place to find someone to speak to your organization or
university about issues relevant to evolution and climate education
and attacks on either or both. Available speakers include NCSE's
executive director Eugenie C. Scott, Glenn Branch, Peter M. J. Hess,
Mark McCaffrey, Eric Meikle, Joshua Rosenau, and Steven Newton, as
well as three members of our board of directors and Supporters,
Barbara Forrest, Kevin Padian, and Andrew J. Petto. So if you need a
speaker, please feel free to visit the speakers information page on
the NCSE website or get in touch with the NCSE office. If nobody from
NCSE is available or suitable, we'll try to find you someone who is!

For the speaker information page, visit: 

For NCSE's contact information, visit: 

Thanks for reading. And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- -- where you can always find the latest news on 
evolution and climate education and threats to them.


Glenn Branch
Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
420 40th Street, Suite 2
Oakland, CA 94609-2509
510-601-7203 x305
fax: 510-601-7204

Read Reports of the NCSE on-line: 

Subscribe to NCSE's free weekly e-newsletter: 

NCSE is on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter: 

NCSE's work is supported by its members. Join today!