April 12, 2012
Los Angeles Times
Dear Mr. Zucchino:
In your article entitle "Creationism discussions are now OK in Tennessee schools" from April 11, 2012, you wrote:
"The measure will allow classroom debates over evolution, permitting discussions of creationism alongside evolutionary teachings about the origins of life. … The state’s teachers are not allowed to raise alternatives to evolution but, under the new law, would be required to permit discussion of creationism and other beliefs if they are raised in class."
This is unfortunately a severe mischaracterization of the new law. In fact, the law is careful to rule out just this sort of thing. The law says nothing about permitting discussions of creationism or any other religious theory, or for that matter anything not within the existing curriculum. You can see the actual Amendment here:
The language is quite clear. It repeatedly states that the new law does not introduce new material into the existing curriculum, and is instead restricted to "scientific subjects required to be taught under the curriculum framework developed by the state board of education."
Furthermore, it goes even farther in avoiding any confusion with creationism as it states: "This section only protects the teaching of scientific information, and shall not be construed to promote any religious or non-religious doctrine."
In addition to your erroneous description of the law, your article was also heavily slanted toward the opposition, even including Barry Lynn, a well known partisan on this issue. Unfortunately all of this simply feeds an on-going cultural myth that really needs clarification rather than reinforcement.
Will you be issuing a correction to the story?
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Here is My Letter to the Los Angeles Times About Their Misreporting on That New Tennessee Law
its erroneous reporting on Tennessee’s new Academic Freedom measure. Here is my letter to the Times apprising them of this situation: