Public input on new textbooks encouraged

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dear Editor:

Until Sept. 13, 2010, science textbooks proposed for adoption and use over the next seven years will be displayed at various library sites across Louisiana. Citizens have an opportunity to inspect and offer written critiques of these important books, and public input will be considered by the State Textbook Adoption Committee later this year to recommend which — if any — of these books should be approved for use in Louisiana schools.

Congress has declared that “… a quality science education should prepare students to distinguish the data and testable theories of science from religious or philosophical claims that are made in the name of science. Where topics are taught that may generate controversy (such as biological evolution), the curriculum should help students to understand the full range of scientific views that exist, why such topics may generate controversy, and how scientific discoveries can profoundly affect society.”

This stated purpose of building critical thinking skills — “recognizing and analyzing alternative models” to quote from Louisiana’s science benchmarks — is also consistent with national polling data confirming that most Americans would prefer that the weaknesses of evolutionism be presented alongside its so-called “strengths” in the biology textbooks. The same rationale applies in controversial areas such as global warming and human cloning.

During the last statewide review — in 2002 — three elected BESE members, after learning of systemic problems with the biology textbooks, voted to disapprove the entire lot. The website, outlines those problems in detail.

How important is this issue? For those concerned about prevailing socialistic influences, consider that in 1958 historian Cleon Skouson concluded his book “The Naked Communist” with this observation: “Every time we produce a boy or girl who is trained to believe that the universe is the product of accumulated accident, that human beings are only graduate beasts, that there is no such thing as innate right or wrong or that deep spiritual convictions are old-fashioned and unnecessary, then we have caused a casualty among our own ranks in the field of ideological warfare. … This is indeed the great secret weapon of Communism.”

As a parent, grandparent and concerned citizen, I encourage Louisianans to visit their local libraries to review and comment upon these science texts. Will we rise to this challenge and opportunity? Time will tell.

– Retired Judge Darrell White

Baton Rouge