Our favorite crusader for science education that isn’t festooned with magic, myth and mysticism has filed a pair of public records requests with the state Department of Education seeking a slew of records pertaining to the curricula of schools accepting voucher students on the public dime.

Zack Kopplin, a Rice University student and Baton Rouge Magnet High School graduate, filed the requests through the office of state Superintendent John White on Monday, May 27, and considering the DOE’s record over the last couple of years of meeting such requests in the timely fashion prescribed by law — DOE is legally required to respond to Kopplin’s request within 72 hours of receiving them — we hope Kopplin isn’t holding his breath.

“The citizens of Louisiana deserve to know whether the state Department of Education is involved with promoting creationism and whether they are attempting to protect Louisiana’s science classrooms,” Kopplin says of his rationale in seeking the documents.

Kopplin has been a champion over the last few years of repealing the Louisiana Science Education Act, which allows teachers in public schools to introduce “supplemental materials” questioning evolution, global climate change and other topics. The act purports to introduce “critical thinking” into science curricula, but as it was lobbied heavily for by the Louisiana Family Forum, critics point out that the main goal of the LSEA is to allow for the introduction of Intelligent Design — creationism in a lab coat — into science classes. He enlisted the endorsements of scores of Nobel laureates in his crusade, although state lawmakers have failed in three consecutive sessions to do the right thing and repeal the act (knowing in the back of their minds, perhaps, that our Ivy League biology major governor, who panders to the LFF specifically and evangelicals in general supports teaching ID alongside Darwinian evolution, would probably veto the repeal anyway).

Since the advent of the Louisiana Scholarship Program, AKA the voucher program, Kopplin has turned his attention to exposing the medieval “science” curricula of schools accepting voucher students. Humans coexisting with dinosaurs, anyone?

“Creationists have made remarkable inroads attacking the teaching of evolution in Louisiana,” adds Kopplin. “ They have legislated a loophole for creationism to be snuck into public school science classrooms. They have managed to use public money to fund creationist private schools. They’ve been trying to throw out Louisiana’s biology textbooks for years.”

Kopplin’s public records requests, taken as a whole, seek the following:

* Any and all teaching materials of schools approved by the Department of Education for participation in the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program in the possession of the Department of Education.

* Any and all teaching materials of schools that did not meet the Department of Education’s standards for participation in the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program based on having poor teaching materials.

* Any and all teaching materials used in the review schools approved by the Department of Education for participation in the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program.

* Any and all documents indicating the review by the Department of Education of teaching materials that will be used in schools approved for the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program.

* Any and all documents indicating the review by the Department of Education of discrimination policies of schools approved for the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program.

* Any and all documents concerning Superintendent White’s ability to “waive any provisions” of the criteria for school participation in the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program.

* Any and all documents concerning discussions about implementing accountability in curriculum in the Student Scholarships for Education Excellence Program.

* Any and all documents concerning Article 8, Section 4, of the Louisiana Constitution. in regards to the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program.

* Any and all documents concerning the teaching of creationism in scholarship schools.

* Any and all supplemental teaching materials that the department is aware of being used under the Louisiana Science Education Act.

* Any and all documents concerning creationism or intelligent design creationism and the Louisiana Science Education Act.

* Any and all documents concerning creationism or intelligent design creationism and House Bill 116 from the 2013 legislative session.

* Any and all documents concerning the Department of Education’s policies on the Louisiana Science Education Act.

* Any and all documents concerning the Louisiana Science Education Act’s effect on the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program

* Any and all documents concerning the Louisiana Science Education Act, teaching the controversy, alternative theories, the theory of evolution, Nobel laureates, intelligent design, creationism, climate change, global warming, cloning, age of the earth, origin of life, Louisiana Coalition for Science, Barbara Forrest, Zack Kopplin, Zachary Kopplin, supplemental materials under the Louisiana Science Education Act, alternative theories, academic freedom, critiques of evolution, young earth, molecules to man, Kitzmiller v. Dover, Edwards v. Aguillard, Livingston Parish and creationism, Ouachita Parish’s Academic Freedom Policy, Central School District’s Academic Freedom policy, Tangipahoa Parish and Creationism, and the Discovery Institute.

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