Fast political action is needed to stop another anti-science bill in Louisiana. Below is a message from Barbara Forrest, who says it all better than I can.
Friends, fellow educators, and concerned citizens,
First, please accept my thanks to those of you who helped in the effort to stop SB 561, especially those who went to the Capitol to testify. Second, action is needed IMMEDIATELY to ask members of the House Education Committee to kill HB 1168, which is the House twin of SB 561. As far as I know, no newspapers have carried the story of its being filed on Monday, April 21. The bill could be heard in the House Education Committee as early as this week of April 28, so immediate action is crucial.
As you may know, SB 561 was amended to SB 733, the “Louisiana Science Education Act,” in which form it is less pernicious but still bad because it contains code language that creationists can exploit. However, the creationists were unhappy with the amendments, so Rep. Frank Hoffman of West Monroe has introduced HB 1168 in the House of Representatives. HB 1168 is identical to the original SB 561. (Mr. Hoffman was the Asst. Supt. of the Ouachita Parish school system in 2006. He helped persuade the the Ouachita Parish School Board to pass its creationist “science curriculum policy” that is the basis for both SB 561 and HB 1168.)
SB 733 will probably pass the Senate and be sent to the House, where it could be merged with HB 1168, which means that we are back where we started with SB 561. So HB 1168 must be killed in the House Education Committee, which means that we must generate as much opposition to the House Education Committee **NOW.** The bill could come up in the House Education Committee this week, but we are not sure. We need to act immediately to request that House Education Committee members kill HB 1168. And please also contact everyone else you know INSIDE LOUISIANA to do the same. We want opposition from inside the state, not outside. We want the House Education Committee members to hear from people who live here and vote here. We may need to generate outside opposition later, but not at this time.
I have written a revised backgrounder for HB 1168 based on the one I wrote for SB 561. You may download it here:
There are talking points, contact information, and some instructions for you at the end of this document.
A shorter set of talking points, also with contact information, is here:
The contact information in these is for ten members of the House Education Committee who may be receptive to our contact based on what we have been able to learn. If you personally know another member who is approachable, please also contact that person.
I have talked personally to three committee members and found those three very nice and very interested. Some of the committee members have been teachers and served on their parish school boards. Some are attorneys. The three to whom I talked were aware of the Dover trial, Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District (2005), in which I served as an expert witness for the plaintiffs, a case that cost the Dover school board one million dollars. This seemed to resonate with them. You may wish to keep that in mind as you contact them. If I may make a suggestion: remember that this is a political problem, not a scientific one. Please try to avoid “science talk.” As Eugenie Scott, our executive director at the National Center for Science Education says, we will not solve this problem by throwing science at it. We must appeal to the legislators as fellow citizens, parents, and educators. No academic-speak! :)
The children and teachers of Louisiana are being used as pawns by the Louisiana Family Forum and, most likely, the Discovery Institute, about which I have written so extensively. These people will assuredly not be around to clean up the wreckage they will leave in their wake if we don’t stop them. We have to stop them.