New Orleans Schools Say ‘No’ to ‘Revisionist’ History from Texas

by Dan Quinn

How badly has the State Board of Education wrecked the educational reputation of Texas? Pretty badly, if a policy adopted this week by the local school board in New Orleans is any indication.

On Tuesday the Orleans Parish Public Schools board passed the following 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.”

Ouch.

The policy goes on to insist on the separation of religion and science instruction:

“No teacher of any discipline of science shall teach any aspect of religious faith as science or in a science class. No teacher of any discipline of science shall teach creationism or intelligent design in classes designated as science classes.”

That vote comes four years after the Louisiana Legislature passed the Louisiana Science Education Act, which opened the door to teaching creationism in the state’s public schools. Then in 2009 creationists on the Texas State Board of Education passed new science curriculum standards they hope will force publishers to challenge evolution in new biology textbooks for public schools. The following year the same board members won approval for new history curriculum standards that even the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute calls a “politicized distortion of history … offering misrepresentations at every turn.”

Now the folks in New Orleans are saying: “don’t bring that nonsense into our schools.” Good for them.

The Texas state board will consider the adoption of new science textbooks in 2013 and new social studies textbooks in 2014. Stay tuned.