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Teaching Controversial Topics in the Classroom: Dissecting the Louisiana Science Education Act

Louise S. Mead, Ph.D., Barbara Forrest, Ph.D., Sarah Wise, Ph.D.
Louise S. MeadLouise S. Mead
March 20, 2009
National Science Teachers Association 2009 Professional Conference
Hilton New Orleans Riverside
Windsor Room
New Orleans, LA

Join us for presentations on and discussion of the legal, professional, and scientific perspectives of ‘academic freedom’ bills such as the Louisiana Science Education Act.
The Louisiana Science Education Act was signed into law by Governor Bobby Jindal in 2008. Five other states debated similar proposals designed to promote “critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, origins of life, global warming, and human cloning”. What are the legal and professional implications of these “academic freedom” bills? What is the history behind these bills? Are these bills really aimed at scientifically controversial topics? What are appropriate scientific theories to use in developing critical thinking? Where is the leading research in these disciplines? The course will include presentations by: Dr. Barbara Forrest, Professor of Philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University and a witness in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District; Dr. Louise S. Mead, Education Project Director at the National Center for Science Education; Dr. Sarah Wise, Visiting Fellow at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.

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