Commentary

Louisiana Learnin’

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By Rachel Birdsell

If any of you hear a loud slurping sound coming from the south, it’s just the collective intelligence of Louisiana being sucked down the drain. I don’t know what’s causing them to lose their smarts. Maybe there’s something in the jambalaya, crawfish pie and filé gumbo. Perhaps the constant pollution from the numerous paper mills is killing their brain cells.

Whatever the cause, the dumbing down has most certainly reached Louisiana schools. Delhi Charter School, a publicly funded secular school in Delhi, La., was recently given an ultimatum by the Louisiana Board of Education to change one of its policies or close. The policy states the school can force female students to take a pregnancy test if they suspect the student is pregnant. If the student tests positive, she has to study at home or leave school.  If she refuses to take the test, she faces the same fate. The school claims that this is a deterrent against teen pregnancy. I get it! I was thinking that educating them about safe sex and providing contraception would help, but I was so wrong. Kicking a girl out for being pregnant will definitely ensure that she won’t get pregnant. Makes sense to me!

The glaring question is, what about the boys who are knocking up the girls? Why don’t they have to leave school? Why must the girls continue to carry the shame of teenage pregnancy, while the boys get a pat on the back for being a red-blooded American male?

This isn’t the only time Louisiana schools have been in the news recently. Earlier this year, Christian schools were given the okay by Governor Bobby Jindal to start receiving state vouchers. It was then brought to light that these schools are teaching some pretty wacky things, such as creationism being science and that Japanese whalers once snagged a dinosaur. The schools are also teaching that the Loch Ness Monster is real. The Accelerated Christian Education is the curriculum used at some of these charter schools. Here is an excerpt from their biology book:

“Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence. Have you heard of the ‘Loch Ness Monster’ in Scotland? ‘Nessie’ for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur.”

That’s right, kids! Not only is Nessie alive, but she’s also performing twice daily in a show that makes Shamu look like a total flunky. Special guests include Bigfoot, Mothman and the Jersey Devil.

Look, Louisiana, I know you have other issues. Along with your stinky paper mills, some of you have to worry about having your legs chewed off by alligators or other swamp dwellers. Speaking of, the show “Swamp People” isn’t helping improve your reputation. But your biggest problem is your children’s education, or lack thereof. Your governor is cutting funding from public schools and is funneling it into private schools that teach that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, cryptids are real, and use textbooks that state, “If a scientific theory contradicts the Bible, then the theory is wrong and must be discarded.”

At the rate you’re going, you’ll soon have a state filled with people who make a Tea Party rally look like a brain trust. If you’re not down with that becoming a reality, rise up and revolt! You may not be able to get “Swamp People” off the air or Jindal impeached, but you can refuse to let your children receive a half-baked education. Science is super cool on its own. You don’t have to add anything supernatural to it to make it interesting. Allow your children to learn factual science, and leave the imaginary monsters and folklore in the mythology books where they belong.

 

Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer and artist. You can drop her a line at rabirdsell@gmail.com

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