Saturday, August 27, 2005

Next up, Kansas schools?

Christian Schools Bring Suit Against UC - Los Angeles Times:
Amid the growing national debate over the mixing of religion and science in America's classrooms, University of California admissions officials have been accused in a federal civil rights lawsuit of discriminating against high schools that teach creationism and other conservative Christian viewpoints.

The suit was filed in Los Angeles federal court Thursday by the Assn. of Christian Schools International, which represents more than 800 religious schools in the state, and by the Calvary Chapel Christian School in Murrieta, which has an enrollment of more than 1,000.

Under a policy implemented with little fanfare a year ago, UC admissions authorities have refused to certify high school science courses that use textbooks challenging Darwin's theory of evolution, the suit says.

Other courses rejected by UC officials include "Christianity's Influence in American History," "Christianity and Morality in American Literature" and "Special Providence: American Government."

The 10-campus UC system requires applicants to complete a variety of courses, including science, mathematics, history, literature and the arts. But in letters to Calvary Chapel, university officials said some of the school's Christian-oriented courses were too narrow to be acceptable.

According to the lawsuit, UC's board of admissions also advised the school that it would not approve biology and science courses that relied primarily on textbooks published by Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Books, two Christian publishers.

Instead, the board instructed the schools to "submit for UC approval a secular science curriculum with a text and course outline that addresses course content/knowledge generally accepted in the scientific community."
Note well: California isn't rejecting creationism, they're rejecting science classes which fail to adequately prepare students for a college level class, for instance by teaching mainly or only creationism (presumably to include Intelligent Design Creationism).

The answer to the title's question is probably "no," but there's a case to be made that students who have been taught that evolution is in the midst of a scientific controversy lack relevant information for an advanced science class. I think California is right to expect that high schools will offer science classes that provide the state of current science. If schools want to include a segment on creationism, that's dumb, but the California system shouldn't necessarily care.