Louisiana is sinking

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As some will recall, a while back the Lousiana state legislature adopted one of the “Academic Freedom” acts pushed by the creationist lobby. At that time it was clear that the act would open the door to teaching creationism in the public schools of that state.

Now the creationists are going further, rigging the procedure by which classroom materials are evaluated for appropriateness. Barbara Forrest, stalwart in the defense of teaching honest science and the separation of church and state, has a long press release outlining what has happened. [Note: URL now fixed.] From that release:

On September 16, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education [BESE] ignored the recommendations of science education professionals in the Louisiana Department of Education (DOE) and allowed the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF), a Religious Right lobbying group, to dictate the procedure concerning complaints about creationist supplementary materials used in public school science classes under the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA).

In other words, the creationists are now the umpires in Louisiana.

The Sensuous Curmudgeon has an excellent post on the press release, as well as a good background post. Read them, and help as you can in Forrest’s efforts.

54 Comments

Judge Jones, paging Judge Jones…

It’s deja vu all over again.

Thank god we don’t have to put up with crap like that in Texas! ;)

O the joy! Panda’s Thumb has linked to my humble blog.

Just Bob said:

Thank god we don’t have to put up with crap like that in Texas! ;)

Said in jest and tragic irony! Sadly, it appears you have even more to worry about in Texas. I’ve read several reports of efforts to gerrymander the history curriculum.

Hey, what happens when some OTHER “religious right” lobbying group demands THEIR right to determine the procedure? Who is going to judge between competing groups of creationists and creationisms? Can of unconstitutional worms!

When I read “Louisiana is sinking” my first thought was receding shoreline along the gulf. Oh well.

@Just Bob Careful! Say Ms. Forrest’s name very quietly in Texas or you might get fired.

WAY off topic, but I was just at a bookstore – I was going to pick up Meyer’s “Signature in the Cell” to look at and be prepared to counter students’ new misconceptions in my cell bio class this quarter. I had no idea the thing was so thick and expensive. It can’t take that many pages to make the case for intelligent design.

Does anyone have a copy they’d like to get rid of? I was dubious about giving a bookstore money for a new copy anyway.

Edwards v. Aguillard - Wikipedia,

30 Jul 2009 … Teaching creationism in public schools is unconstitutional because it attempts … The Court ruled that a Louisiana law requiring that creation science be taught .… “Creationist lawsuit

They’ve already been sued once and lost for teaching creationism. I suppose it is time to sue them again.

They know it is illegal and unconstitutional to teach creationism in public schools. They just don’t care.

One thing about dealing with fundie xians. After a while you sort of get used to lies, ignorance, violence, and attempts to overthrow the US government.

IIRC, Louisiana is already a national sacrifice area. They score low in educational achievement, high in social problems, and high in environmental problems due to ubiquitous gas and oil exploitation. While the lower half is sinking and washing away due to global warming, environmental problems, and natural subsidence.

I’m sure teaching creationism in public schools will fix all that in a jiffy.

I’d say “Thank god for Louisiana” if it weren’t so tragic. At least they make SC look semi-normal and literate…

Two should simply be expelled from the Union because they bring nothing at all to the table and cause nothing but trouble. Those states are South Carolina and Louisiana. Watch you’re ass, Alabama, because I’m looking at you really hard.

FastEddie said:

Those states are South Carolina and Louisiana. Watch you’re ass, Alabama, because I’m looking at you really hard.

Well … they did try to leave at one time, but they were persuaded to stay.

Let’s all give a big “THANKS!” To Gov. Bobby Jindal for signing on to this deceptive piece of legislation, wasting the tax payers’ time and money and children on something that was already a proven loser. Why stop there? Let’s also “thank” the members of the state legislature that pushed this through, knowing full well what it would do and what it would be used for.

I’m trying to get a review copy from his publisher so I can write an appropriate Amazon.com review. If I do get it and you’re still interested, then ask Glenn Branch at NCSE if he can give you my e-mail address (He’ll ask me of course and I’ll say yes.):

KP said:

WAY off topic, but I was just at a bookstore – I was going to pick up Meyer’s “Signature in the Cell” to look at and be prepared to counter students’ new misconceptions in my cell bio class this quarter. I had no idea the thing was so thick and expensive. It can’t take that many pages to make the case for intelligent design.

Does anyone have a copy they’d like to get rid of? I was dubious about giving a bookstore money for a new copy anyway.

Am trying to forget that he concentrated in Biology at my undergraduate Ivy League alma mater, and you have to remind me of his existence:

Wheels said:

Let’s all give a big “THANKS!” To Gov. Bobby Jindal for signing on to this deceptive piece of legislation, wasting the tax payers’ time and money and children on something that was already a proven loser. Why stop there? Let’s also “thank” the members of the state legislature that pushed this through, knowing full well what it would do and what it would be used for.

Barbara is tweaking the format behind scenes, and the article now has a slightly changed URL. Thus, the address above doesn’t quite work; use this one instead

Cheers, Dave

KP said:

WAY off topic, but I was just at a bookstore – I was going to pick up Meyer’s “Signature in the Cell” to look at and be prepared to counter students’ new misconceptions in my cell bio class this quarter. I had no idea the thing was so thick and expensive. It can’t take that many pages to make the case for intelligent design.

Does anyone have a copy they’d like to get rid of? I was dubious about giving a bookstore money for a new copy anyway.

You can already get the book at amazon for 15.71 (& up) used. Don’t know who’d want to pay full price for a roll of TP like that. Amazon can’t sell it nor can the bookstores. Meyers desperately trys to spin it at his church talks for $20. I think he still references the paper he & Sternberg snuck in the back door with the Smithsonian journal, later pulled by publication eds after it went through a real peer review that said it had no scientific merit.

DavidK said:

You can already get the book at amazon for 15.71 (& up) used. Don’t know who’d want to pay full price for a roll of TP like that. Amazon can’t sell it nor can the bookstores. Meyers desperately trys to spin it at his church talks for $20.

Was going to avoid Amazon because I don’t want that drivel in my “purchase history.” Or the computer generated “if-you-like-that-book-you’ll-also-like-this-other-book-of-creationist-lies” barrage.

Is it really selling that badly? Cover price in the store was 28.95-ish. And a huge tome, much longer than “The Greatest Show on Earth.” I did flip through it and quite a bit of it seemed to stray from the focus of DNA “information-theory.”

This is where Darwinians lose out and we evolution strengths and weaknesses explorers win every time!

Instead of paying full price for that book, which was merely to alleviate secular costs in mainstream atheist academia, in my class we have the students simply read each chapter in the cells of their toenail clippings.

Why am I not surprised that you cannot extract all the marvelous information the Designer put into our miraculous cells?

If any of my students are reading this, the answer to last week’s homework is on the 14th chromosome obtained from your big toenail, in an area not yet mapped out by secular materialist science. If you cannot determine the area, please pray for guidance.

KP said:

WAY off topic, but I was just at a bookstore – I was going to pick up Meyer’s “Signature in the Cell” to look at and be prepared to counter students’ new misconceptions in my cell bio class this quarter. I had no idea the thing was so thick and expensive. It can’t take that many pages to make the case for intelligent design.

Yes, I wouldn’t want to purchase Meyer’s book on ethical grounds. The NCSE could make far better use of it. Besides which, how many times are you going to reread pseudoscience and xian Dominionist propaganda anyway.

If you are at a university, interlibrary loan would work. Our local public library keeps up and has a lot of new evolution books and a few creationist tracts. They would probably stock it if someone asked, which is why I wouldn’t.

Back with the earth was young, I was a finalist in the Louisiana state high-school biology competition – with basically no knowledge or understanding of the TOE. I had some biology facts in my head but no theory linking them together as explaining why things were as they are.

And I don’t recall any questions on the exams regarding the TOE. We were just asked to do things like sketch hearts or kidneys from memory and explain their features or to choose some multiple choice answers about various biological facts.

Apparently, education there has not improved. It might have actually slipped a bit because at least we weren’t taught creationism in biology class.

Or a public library which is my backup plan if his publisher doesn’t send me a copy (One way or another, I will write an appropriate review at Amazon of it.):

raven said:

KP said:

WAY off topic, but I was just at a bookstore – I was going to pick up Meyer’s “Signature in the Cell” to look at and be prepared to counter students’ new misconceptions in my cell bio class this quarter. I had no idea the thing was so thick and expensive. It can’t take that many pages to make the case for intelligent design.

Yes, I wouldn’t want to purchase Meyer’s book on ethical grounds. The NCSE could make far better use of it. Besides which, how many times are you going to reread pseudoscience and xian Dominionist propaganda anyway.

If you are at a university, interlibrary loan would work. Our local public library keeps up and has a lot of new evolution books and a few creationist tracts. They would probably stock it if someone asked, which is why I wouldn’t.

FastEddie said: Two should simply be expelled from the Union because they bring nothing at all to the table and cause nothing but trouble. Those states are South Carolina and Louisiana.

No. The sane sections of these states are getting outvoted. Some of them are so demoralized by the repeated losses, they tune out, and the margins of victory by the right wing crowd appears bigger because of that.

Is it possible for the whole state’s high schools to lose accreditation and lose the eligibility to admission to most universities in other states? Is it possible for at least some biology programs in some universities mandating remedial biology course for students hailing from “states with deficient biology education standards”?

Nothing like a notice from Johns Hopkins or an Ivy league school saying, “Students from Louisiana and South Carolina are not eligible for admission”. That will jolt the parents into action and paying attention to the shenanigans by the local school boards and right wing activists.

Who certifies the schools and their diplomas? What would it take to make states with inadequate standards to lose accreditation?

I can understand Dr. Forrest’s concern, but strategically this doesn’t change much. We were already fairly certain that this law would eventually result in a lawsuit; the new implementation rules just increase the chance the lawsuit will happen sooner.

What the state did was create a formal process by which to decide whether material is appropriate. They rigged that process in favor of creationism. But no formal process - fair or unfair - will make creationist material constitutional, because its the content that’s the constitutonal issue, not the DOEd procedures. (And did anyone else read DOE and immediately think “Department of Energy?”)

Ravilyn.Sanders said: Is it possible for the whole state’s high schools to lose accreditation and lose the eligibility to admission to most universities in other states?

That may be the de facto result, even if it doesn’t happen formally. We had a big bruhaha last year when a nearby county changed its H.S. grading criteria (the classic “you’re getting softer!” vs “we need to appear competitive with other districts!”). Among other comments, several University admsissions professionals wrote in to the local papers and basically said: we aren’t stupid. We know exactly what the various districts and counties across the U.S. do and how to normalize for their shenanigans. Changing your grading scale isn’t going to change our perception of your schools either for better or for worse.

Apply this lesson to Lousiana: it probably doesn’t matter whether their H.S.’s are formally accredited or not. Universities already understand what sort of education a student gets depending on the school and district, and regardless of accreditation the quality of a school’s programs already influences their acceptance decisions.

Again, ultimately its the content of the curricula that matters. Putting an officially approved stamp on a specific curriculum doesn’t suddenly make it better.

Who certifies the schools and their diplomas? What would it take to make states with inadequate standards to lose accreditation?

The states decide accreditation of their own schools.

It is more complex than just Louisiana declaring war on education, although that is what they are doing.

This is more a fundie xian theocracy power move. Louisiana has a significant number of nonfundie xians, the largest sect is Catholic, and the usual No Religion categories. They aren’t going to like this. I doubt the Reformation wars will flare up again but when people have government supported cults pushing their religion on them, they will push back.

Religion is always a good way to artifically divide people into US versus THEM. It worked so well in places like Northern Ireland and Iraq.

A lot of people will probably send their kids to private schools. The well educated segments will if they can afford it. I wouldn’t send my kids to a public school that taught creationism but I wouldn’t live in Louisiana the way it is now in a million years.

John Kwok said:

Or a public library which is my backup plan if his publisher doesn’t send me a copy (One way or another, I will write an appropriate review at Amazon of it.):

raven said:

KP said:

WAY off topic, but I was just at a bookstore – I was going to pick up Meyer’s “Signature in the Cell” to look at and be prepared to counter students’ new misconceptions in my cell bio class this quarter. I had no idea the thing was so thick and expensive. It can’t take that many pages to make the case for intelligent design.

Yes, I wouldn’t want to purchase Meyer’s book on ethical grounds. The NCSE could make far better use of it. Besides which, how many times are you going to reread pseudoscience and xian Dominionist propaganda anyway.

If you are at a university, interlibrary loan would work. Our local public library keeps up and has a lot of new evolution books and a few creationist tracts. They would probably stock it if someone asked, which is why I wouldn’t.

Yes, but be careful that they (the creationists) don’t mark your review comments as inappropriate. Amazon allows that and there’s not much you can do about it.

Hopefully public libraries won’t waste their money on this drivel. If you have a 1/2 price books around, check the clearance shelf and often you’ll find the DI’s books going for $1.

John Kwok said:

Or a public library which is my backup plan if his publisher doesn’t send me a copy (One way or another, I will write an appropriate review at Amazon of it.):

I just wanted to add that I was in another forum being asked to read said book. I did an online search of all the libraries in south and central Florida and found only 1 copy. I’m saddened that they bought a copy but pleased that in all the libraries I could search, only 1 copy showed up.

Also. I chuckled a bit when I found that it was filed under Cosmology.

DavidK,

I know the rules. I used to be a “Top 50” reviewer until I foolishly supported at first, the “Birther” nonsense about Obama and expressed my worst fears about his presidency (though maybe I was right after all, since much of what I was worried about may be implemented by him). Right now, couldn’t care less about what the creos will say, but they will howl once they see the title of my review (which I’ve decided on). Anyway, they will accuse me of not having read Meyer’s trash, just as they’ve accused me of not reading Behe’s latest solo exercise in mendacious intellectual pornography, “The Edge of Evolution” (which I have noted repeatedly I have a review copy of courtesy of his publisher, and really, if I didn’t read it, then why did I condemn the book as a gross misunderstanding of coevolutionary arms races and other aspects of evolutionary ecology?) or reading any of Dembski’s books (which I have done, much to my dismay. That is reading Dembski’s mendacious intellectual pornography that reads more like it’s something that his hero, Josef Goebbels, could have written.):

DavidK said:

John Kwok said:

Or a public library which is my backup plan if his publisher doesn’t send me a copy (One way or another, I will write an appropriate review at Amazon of it.):

raven said:

KP said:

WAY off topic, but I was just at a bookstore – I was going to pick up Meyer’s “Signature in the Cell” to look at and be prepared to counter students’ new misconceptions in my cell bio class this quarter. I had no idea the thing was so thick and expensive. It can’t take that many pages to make the case for intelligent design.

Yes, I wouldn’t want to purchase Meyer’s book on ethical grounds. The NCSE could make far better use of it. Besides which, how many times are you going to reread pseudoscience and xian Dominionist propaganda anyway.

If you are at a university, interlibrary loan would work. Our local public library keeps up and has a lot of new evolution books and a few creationist tracts. They would probably stock it if someone asked, which is why I wouldn’t.

Yes, but be careful that they (the creationists) don’t mark your review comments as inappropriate. Amazon allows that and there’s not much you can do about it.

Hopefully public libraries won’t waste their money on this drivel. If you have a 1/2 price books around, check the clearance shelf and often you’ll find the DI’s books going for $1.

Should have been listed instead under either “Klingon Cosmology” or “mendacious intellectual pornography” IMHO:

Lars from FL said:

John Kwok said:

Or a public library which is my backup plan if his publisher doesn’t send me a copy (One way or another, I will write an appropriate review at Amazon of it.):

I just wanted to add that I was in another forum being asked to read said book. I did an online search of all the libraries in south and central Florida and found only 1 copy. I’m saddened that they bought a copy but pleased that in all the libraries I could search, only 1 copy showed up.

Also. I chuckled a bit when I found that it was filed under Cosmology.

They’ve already been sued once and lost for teaching creationism. I suppose it is time to sue them again.

Just interjecting a pessimistic note. Don’t mean to insinuate that the comment is at fault, but too often, especially in academia, there’s the underlying assumption that this process is somehow automatic, or that someone else is taking care of it. Maybe some even assume that some branch of the government we pay for is enforcing the law and the constitution.

It’s worth noting, whenever we write “deja vu all over again”, that it only goes to court when a private organization is paying lawyers to do the work, and when a large number private citizens support the effort. It takes alot of dedicated volunteer work. We should all be ready to support Dr. Forrest.

Lars from FL said:

Also. I chuckled a bit when I found that it was filed under Cosmology.

No, that is a major achievement. Local libraries always slavishly file under what the Library of Congress classifies the book as, and the Library of Congress slavishly classifies the book the way the publisher wants. The result is that most tax supported libraries in the US support anti-science propaganda by insisting on catagorizing creationism under science. Protesting this only produces frustration.

You can bet that Meyers and the publisher did not classify the book as Cosmology. It would seem that someone in the Florida library system knows some facts, and has bucked convention.

KP Wrote:

Is it really selling that badly?

FWIW I saw Behe’s “Edge of Evolution” in the ~$5 discount rack less than a year after its release.

Such books are too technical for the general public. The activist-wannabes have more than enough books and articles to spin anti-evolution sound bites that will keep the rubes dazzled indefinitely. It wouldn’t surprise me that most of the remaining buyers are ID critics looking to be entertained by the “breathtaking inanity.”

[South Carolina and Louisiana] should simply be expelled from the Union because they bring nothing at all to the table and cause nothing but trouble.

And you think they’d cause LESS trouble as independent (failed) states? Please – we’d be re-invading them to flush out the Taliban (Christian and Muslim) within a year.

Not to mention of course that, between them, both the DI and AiG have the market almost to themselves for glitzy, samizdat agitprop mendacious intellectual porn:

Frank J said:

KP Wrote:

Is it really selling that badly?

FWIW I saw Behe’s “Edge of Evolution” in the ~$5 discount rack less than a year after its release.

Such books are too technical for the general public. The activist-wannabes have more than enough books and articles to spin anti-evolution sound bites that will keep the rubes dazzled indefinitely. It wouldn’t surprise me that most of the remaining buyers are ID critics looking to be entertained by the “breathtaking inanity.”

It takes alot of dedicated volunteer work. We should all be ready to support Dr. Forrest.

Sure. I’m not one of those who thinks god or the angels will magically take care of this, although they should if they exist.

And the courts are the weakest link in our constitutional democracy. The fundies are trying to corrupt them like everything else they touch. But as the large case law gets larger, it is going to be harder and harder for them to violate the 1st amendment.

Polls show the majority of the US population is sick and tired of the fundies and their trying to impose their cults on us. That is at least 150 million people.

Maybe the ACLU and interested parties will rally around RM + NS and kick in some bucks. I intend to do so myself.

Raging Bee said:

And you think they’d cause LESS trouble as independent (failed) states? Please – we’d be re-invading them to flush out the Taliban (Christian and Muslim) within a year.

But then we could call in airstrikes … ah, forget I said that.

I prefer a hearty, zealous band of Klingon warriors whose primary duty is to send both Bobby Jindal and William Dembski to Gre’thor (Klingon Hell):

wile coyote said:

Raging Bee said:

And you think they’d cause LESS trouble as independent (failed) states? Please – we’d be re-invading them to flush out the Taliban (Christian and Muslim) within a year.

But then we could call in airstrikes … ah, forget I said that.

Lars from FL said: I chuckled a bit when I found that it was filed under Cosmology.

I bought my copy at the local Barnes & Noble. It was in the “Religion & Philosophy” section. (…which makes sense, as it is published by HarperOne, a religious publishing house.)

IA(definitely)NAL, but for the kind of lawsuit that would get this BS declared unconstitutional, doesn’t the plaintiff have to be an “injured party,” such as a parent of a student in a class where creationism is taught? That’s why it was Kitzmiller (and not ACLU or NCSE) v Dover.

An interested organization might, of course, prompt a parent or student to bring such a suit, and promise to offer free legal services. Actually, hearing that the ACLU and others are actively seeking a plaintiff might prompt a few legislators to have second thoughts.

John Kwok said:

I prefer a hearty, zealous band of Klingon warriors …

Ah, but don’t you just love the smell of napalm in the morning?

KP -

Is it really selling that badly?

If it is, Meyer must have offended someone, or else his publishers must have been massively overconfident.

Under the Wingnut Welfare system, not only are those who crank out this kind of drivel given well-paid do-nothing (beyond occasionally crank out drivel) jobs at “think tanks”, but their books are also bought up in bulk orders by allied wingnut think tanks and institutions as soon as they come out. This is not only intended to line the pockets of wingnut think tank “fellows”, but also to manipulate best-seller lists.

Paul Burnett said:

I bought my copy at the local Barnes & Noble. It was in the “Religion & Philosophy” section. (…which makes sense, as it is published by HarperOne, a religious publishing house.)

It was smack-dab in the middle of the “Science and Nature” section at my local Hastings. Filed just down the shelf from all the Dawkins stuff (I was also looking for The Greatest Show On Earth, but it’s not in at that store yet).

It did have some cosmological-looking chapters which puzzled me. I’m not sure what the link there is to the information theory approach to DNA…

Actually enjoy the sound of Klingon disruptors blowing apart stupid creo tards like Jindal and Dembski:

wile coyote said:

John Kwok said:

I prefer a hearty, zealous band of Klingon warriors …

Ah, but don’t you just love the smell of napalm in the morning?

Actually, hearing that the ACLU and others are actively seeking a plaintiff might prompt a few legislators to have second thoughts.

Naw. No way. This is their number one issue and damn the lawsuits.

If it wasn’t for issues like teaching mythology in public schools as science, they might have to actually do something.

Their major city of New Orleans was destroyed by a hurricane and it needs to be rebuilt with dikes above high tide. Their coast line is rapidly eroding away and needs hundreds of millions or billions in remediation and reconstruction to stop it. Plus all the social problems.

But really why bother with the boring reality stuff when you can pander for votes from fundie wingnuts. The Catholics mostly live down in the southern part of the state, at or below sea level. As far as I can see, the rest of the state probably could care less if they all get washed away.

KP Wrote:

It did have some cosmological-looking chapters which puzzled me. I’m not sure what the link there is to the information theory approach to DNA…

Yeah ya do. If it has any promise at promoting unreasonable doubt of evolution, it’ll be there. Think of the Gish Gallop.

Frank J,

Am getting a copy from my local library for sure. It’s on my personal fast track toward getting a thorough, most extensive, Amazon.com review from me. I certainly don’t want to disappoint my fans at Uncommon Dissent and the Dishonesty Institute:

Frank J said:

KP Wrote:

It did have some cosmological-looking chapters which puzzled me. I’m not sure what the link there is to the information theory approach to DNA…

Yeah ya do. If it has any promise at promoting unreasonable doubt of evolution, it’ll be there. Think of the Gish Gallop.

The states decide accreditation of their own schools.

I just noticed this comment a moment ago. It is incorrect. In the US, private accrediting agencies, not government agencies, accredit schools and colleges. See here, for example. There is even an agency for accrediting diploma mills like the Institute for Creation Research.

I just noticed this comment a moment ago. It is incorrect. In the US, private accrediting agencies, not government agencies, accredit schools and colleges.

That is true for higher ed. But some states regulate primary and secondary education. Details vary by the state. California has a system.

For example Holy Names wikipedia:

In 1933, Holy Names High School was included on the list of accredited schools published by the Office of the Examiner of Schools of the State University, the official accrediting agency for the State of California. Since that time its accreditation has been consistently renewed. The school currently is accredited for the maximum term by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Twice Holy Names High School received national recognition as an Exemplary Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.

I just noticed this comment a moment ago. It is incorrect. In the US, private accrediting agencies, not government agencies, accredit schools and colleges.

That is true for higher ed. Some states have their own rules for secondary schools. Below is one example from California.

wikipedia Holy Names as an example:

In 1933, Holy Names High School was included on the list of accredited schools published by the Office of the Examiner of Schools of the State University, the official accrediting agency for the State of California. Since that time its accreditation has been consistently renewed. The school currently is accredited for the maximum term by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Twice Holy Names High School received national recognition as an Exemplary Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.

Raven, California is somewhat unusual. Its UC system guarantees admissions to the top 12.5% (but see here) of graduating CA H.S. students…from approved programs. This gives the state a strong vested interest in making sure the approval process is legit. So the state (via UC) approves H.S. programs itself. This came up in the 2007 ACSI v. Stearns case where a creationist school argued that UC was biased against them (the creationists lost). Here’s a link that helps explain/describe the requirements for approval.

Anyway, I think CA is the execption not the rule, and they are the exception because of a unique admissions guarantee. AFAIK Matt’s generally right.

Eric, Raven -

The technicalities of what constitutes a “valid” high school graduation are complex, especially given that schools are largely regulated at the state and local level in the US.

Unfortunately, there is a great deal of “good faith” in the system, which is precisely what slimy creationists dream of taking advantage of.

It’s generally taken for granted that a high school diploma from a public school has some meaning, one that may be evaluated in the context of grades and standardized test scores. The underlying assumption here is that local authorities, usually working with guidelines set by state bureaucrats, have set up an adequate curriculum, and teachers have taught it in at least a minimally competent way. Also that whatever state or local oversight mechanisms may exist have been enforced in a reasonably rigorous way.

There are also private and public GRE programs, and of course, many private schools.

As we all know, UC did refuse credit for “AP biology” courses taken by students at a creationist private school, and even this generated a law suit. Note that neither admission nor readiness for a UC science curriculum was denied. The creationist students simply weren’t allowed to use their Fred Flintstone high school “science” credits as credits toward a degree from UC, i.e. they weren’t allowed to say that such courses are the academic equivalent of a science course at a major university. They sued for that.

Universities do have the right to refuse to recognize course work if it doesn’t meet certain standards, but they can expect a lot of resistance when they practice this. Especially public universities.

harold said: As we all know, UC did refuse credit for “AP biology” courses taken by students at a creationist private school, and even this generated a law suit. Note that neither admission nor readiness for a UC science curriculum was denied.

As I understand it, the ACSI v. Stearns case was somewhat different from what you are describing…could there be two cases?

ACSI brought suit over Biology, US history, American Governmment, American Literature, and Religion, classes - not just AP Biology. Also, the issue was whether these classes would count towards fulfilling the A-G requirements. It had nothing to do with receiving UC credit for an AP class.

UC has a couple of specialized tracks for getting in, in addition to regular admissions. The top 12.5% guaranteed admission is one of those tracks. This case closed off the guaranteed admission track (until ACSI beefs up its classes; it is free to reapply next year and every year), but not regular admissions.

Anyway, I think CA is the execption not the rule, and they are the exception because of a unique admissions guarantee. AFAIK Matt’s generally right.

California is 12% of the US population.

Of course, I don’t know what requirements or oversight the other 49 states have over public and private high school programs. The amount of effort to look it up isn’t worth my time.

I do know that some other states have statewide achievement tests that students are expected to take as a minimum for a high school diploma.

Eric -

You are correct, I misremembered the ASCI lawsuit.

Actually what happened was that the students in question were asked to take remedial courses in certain areas, and ASCI sued over that.

They called Behe as an expert witness. Thus, while the plaintiffs and the taxpayers of CA paid for the cost of this lawsuit, Behe presumably took home a fat pay check, unless he was working pro bono. Almost as nice as a bulk order for several hundred boxes of never-to-be-read Behe books by a right wing think tank.

My broader point remains. Graduates of the same high school(s) who don’t try to go to UC may never have their high school graduation credentials challenged. It’s easy to imagine that they might become teachers, lawyers, health care professionals, law enforcement professionals, military officers, etc, without ever taking a remedial course.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on September 29, 2009 2:53 PM.

More Anti-Science Eco-Activism in British Columbia was the previous entry in this blog.

Ohio Supreme Court denies Freshwater mandamus motion is the next entry in this blog.

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