July/August 2015 Church & State | AU Bulletin

In an expose published by Slate magazine, pro-science activist Zack Kopplin revealed that many Louisiana science teachers push religion in public school classrooms.

Kopplin filed a Freedom of Information request and obtained a number of emails in which science teachers openly admitted to teaching creationism in their classrooms, often with the explicit support of school administrators.

“We will read in Genesis and them [sic] some supplemental material debunking various aspects of evolution from which the students will present,” Airline High School teacher Shawna Creamer wrote to her principal. In another email, Bossier High School principal Doug Scott told a biology teacher, “I enjoyed the visit to your class today as you discussed evolution and creationism in a full spectrum of thought.”

Kopplin also obtained a Powerpoint presentation that had been used in one school’s science class; it included information about creationism and “intelligent design” alongside evolution. Slides on evolution were preceded by a dictionary definition of “theory,” but slides on creationism and intelligent design were presented as fact.

According to Kopplin, the controversial Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA) is to blame for the situation. As written, the LSEA allows science teachers to teach material that is critical of climate change and evolution. Critics like Kopplin have argued that it’s simply a loophole to permit the teaching of creationism in public schools.