In a state as red as Louisiana, finding sanity among elected officials is like finding unfried food in the Bayou. Recently, Governor Bobby Jindal had made news due to his voucher program which will, legally, funnel millions of tax payer dollars to schools that teach Creationism and similar gibberish like the Loch Ness Monster is real (no, seriously, they do). This move is not doing well in the courts but one school district isn’t taking any chances. Via Patheos:
Earlier tonight, the Orleans Parish School Board voted to amend the way they select their textbooks in the district. Previously, the Superintendent had the final say in “all textbooks and supplementary instructional” that would be used, with optional input from teachers and administrators.
Tonight, the board decided to add a new caveat to that policy
“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.”
In case you’re unclear what it is the Orleans Parish School Board is referring to, it has to do with a controversy from last couple of years in which Tea Party fanatics rewrote the guidelines for Texan textbooks. They decided it would be more “American” if they downplayed the horrors of slavery and the South’s role in it and at the same time more or less removing Thomas Jefferson from the books altogether. Why Jefferson? Because he coined the phrase “Separation of Church and State.”
Don’t you long for the good ol’ days when the Tea Party was still pretending to be “just about fiscal issues” before they stopped lying and we all found out that they were just the same old culture warriors and religious bigots?
I fully expect a lawsuit to be brought against the school board for “religious persecution” or some such nonsense. The groups that are pressuring schools to adopt Christian “history” have very deep pockets and very long memories.
What is most notable about this declaration, however, is not that it bans Creationism from schools. It’s already against the law to do that in publicly funded schools. This, incidentally is one of the main reasons for the right wing push for vouchers: they sidestep the 1st Amendment on a semantic technicality. So “rebanning” Creationism is more of a poke at Jindal’s sop to the religious right. The more important aspect is the wholesale rejection of Texas style textbooks. One of the reasons there was such a controversy is that Texas is one of the largest purchasers of textbooks in the country. Therefor, textbook companies tend to make all their textbooks based on Texas’ standards as opposed to different books for different states. Essentially, what Texas decides to teach its kids goes for most of the country. In this context, standing up to Texas’ Tea Party textbook agenda is a huge gamble to take in the deep red South. A gamble, but a necessary one and one that should be copied throughout the country.
Unless, of course, you’re comfortable with Texas Republicans dictating your children’s curriculum?
I didn’t think so.