Teen pressing for repeal of La. Science Education Act
BATON ROUGE - One Baton Rouge Magnet High School student is leading the charge in changing what can be taught in Louisiana high school classrooms.
Zack Kopplin supports Senate Bill 70 which repeals a 2008 law that allows teachers to add supplemental lesson plans that can include other theories of how humans came to be; including religion and creationism.
With the current state mandated science curriculum, Kopplin said there's simply not enough time to add faith based teachings of creationism.
"This should not be about religion. Science and religion don't intersect. Science is natural and religion is supernatural and they're totally different," Kopplin said.
Kopplin started a website asking the legislature to get behind SB 70. He included over 40 Nobel Laureates that back his thinking. But with only three legislators opposing the bill three years ago, many don't see this repeal becoming a reality.
Gene Mills represents the Louisiana Family Forum. He said allowing teachers to teach theories other than just Darwinism develops critical thinking among students.
"The text of the language says a teacher shall teach the instructed material that's included in the approved text and may include supplemental materials. If you remove that I guess it's going to be a free-for-all cause there's going to be a more restrictive list that the department of education would have to produce," Mills said.
Kopplin disagrees saying that supporters often use critical thinking as a crutch.
"It's widely recognized by the scientific community that this is just a loop hope to sneak creationism into the classroom," Kopplin said.
Some believe science-based teaching ultimately hurts the state saying science based companies won't relocate to Louisiana because of what's being taught in the classroom.
In a letter to the governor's office two years ago, the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology informed Governor Jindal they would no longer hold their annual science conference as long as creationism and religion are taught in public school classrooms. In fact, the group pulled out of the state after committing to hold a conference.
"There are many taxpayers in the state of Louisiana and the governor included that said, fine. I hope you find a better place," Mills said.
"No science organization wants to come have it's convention in Louisiana, in an anti-science state, and also no scientist state. We're not going to be able to pull them in because who wants to come work in an anti-science state," Kopplin said.
Governor Jindal has said he will veto SB 70 if it even makes it to his desk.