No one whines more about America's supposed decline than Republicans. Yet the GOP prostitutes itself shamelessly to the Christianists who seek to dumb down America's public school system so as to avoid anything that demonstrates that their ignorant belief in Bible inerrancy is simply not in accord with scientific fact and modern knowledge. Nothing personifies this more than the Christianist push to have creationism taught in our public schools as if it were a legitimate area of science. Closely aligned to this effort is the push to rewrite American history to (i) make the false claim that America was founded as a "Christian nation" and (ii) excise inconvenient events and individuals from the nation's history. If anyone is contributing to America's decline it is the Christianists themselves through their deliberate embrace of ignorance. Thus, it is refreshing that the Orleans Parish schools in Louisiana - not exactly one of the nation's most enlightened states - have banned the teaching of creationism and the revisionist history so loved by the far right. Here are highlights from Raw Story on this development:
The school board for Orleans Parish in Louisiana voted Tuesday night to ban the teaching of creationism as science and what they called a “revisionist” history curriculum promoted by the state of Texas.
None of the six schools run by the board actually teach creationism, according to The Times-Picayune, but outgoing Orleans Parish School Board President Thomas Robichaux felt strongly about the measure (PDF) anyway, which passed in two parts.
The first policy change pertains to the selection of textbooks. “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,” it reads.
The second policy change prohibits teachers from taking the matter into their own hands. “No teacher of any discipline of science shall teach any aspect of religious faith as science or in a science class,” it reads. “No teacher of any discipline of science shall teach creationism or intelligent design in classes designated as science classes.”
The school district is not alone in pushing back against growing religious and conservative influence on science and history curriculum. When education officials in Texas began altering textbooks to reflect right-wing and religious viewpoints, lawmakers in California acted quickly to pass a bill that bans the state’s revisionist standards in California schools.
Officials in other states are particularly concerned about Texas’s changes because the state can tend to influence how the nation’s most widely accepted textbooks are written.
Given the de facto control of the Republican Party in Virginia by The Family Foundation, a vicious far right Christianist organization, don't hold your breath hoping to see similar commonsense measures in Virginia any time soon.