Target: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
Goal: To remove schools that reject evolution from Louisiana’s taxpayer-subsidized voucher program
In an effort to provide a quality education to children who currently reside within the districts of Louisiana’s many failing public schools, Governor Jindal has backed a controversial voucher program in which taxpayer money will be used to pay tuition for these children to attend a nearby private school. Louisiana is not the first state to implement a voucher program, but what makes this program controversial is the fact that religious schools that teach creationism, rather than evolution, are included in the program.
Louisiana public schools are required to use approved textbooks for standardized teaching in all required subjects and these textbooks teach science from an evolutionary perspective. Public schools are allowed to selectively utilize supplemental teaching materials, but any books or lessons containing a religious doctrine are banned. While there is no ban specific to the teaching of creationist theory, if it is taught, it is expected to be supplemental to the teaching of evolutionary theory.
Of the 119 private schools in the voucher program, 19 openly refute the theory of evolution and one, Ascension Christian High School, states that “the learner will be expected to defend creationism through evidence presented by the Bible verses traditional scientific theory.” Another school, Northlake Christian High School, refutes fossil evidence of millions of years of life on Earth by stating that it is incompatible with the teachings of the bible and that the universe is only thousands of years old.
Louisiana will spend more than $4 million on the tuition of 750 voucher students for the 2012-2013 school year with over $600,000 going to the two schools mentioned in this petition. That’s a minimum of $600,000 in taxpayer funding going to schools where the science curriculum does not meet state requirements. Superintendent of Education, John C. White, says annual tests required of all voucher students in the 3rd through 11th grades will determine if children are getting the appropriate science education in the private school classrooms. “If students are failing the test, we’re going to intervene, and the test measures evolution,” White said, but this type of intervention will come too late if the goal of the voucher program is truly to improve the quality of the students’ education.
Please ask Governor Jindal to remove private schools that do not meet the state-approved science curriculum from the voucher program.
Dear Governor Jindal,
It has come to our attention that several of the private schools set to receive taxpayer-funded vouchers for students have openly refuted evolutionary theory and refuse to teach science that contradicts the teachings of the Bible. While teaching both theories may allow learners an opportunity to explore the origin of the universe from multiple perspectives, teaching solely creationism is in direct violation of the state required science curriculum.
Superintendent White has stated that the curriculum issue will be reevaluated if and when students fail to achieve on their annual tests, but what will happen then? Will these students be uprooted again, adding further stress and academic confusion?
You have the power to set these children up for success now by mandating that all voucher-approved schools incorporate evolutionary theory in to their science curriculum.
[Your Name Here]