(Topeka, KS) On September 26 Citizens for Objective Public Education, Inc. (COPE) filed suit in federal court against the Kansas State Board of Education and the Kansas State Department of Education to enjoin implementation of science standards designed for all students in the US.
The Complaint was filed in Topeka, Kansas, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas. Other plaintiffs in the suit include eight families with children enrolled in Kansas public schools and a family that represents Kansas taxpayers.
The Complaint and additional information may be found on COPE’s website: www.COPEinc.org.
The Complaint alleges that the Kansas Board’s adoption on June 11, 2013, of A Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards (the F&S) “will have the effect of causing Kansas public schools to establish and endorse a non-theistic religious worldview” in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
In May and June, 2013, COPE urged the Kansas Board to reject the Standards for the reasons set forth in its analyses dated June 1, 2012 and January 29, 2013. However, the Board and the Department of Education declined to discuss or investigate the concerns expressed in the analyses.
The Complaint claims that the Standards lead students to ask “ultimate religious questions” like “where do we come from?” Rather than objectively inform children about these questions in an age-appropriate manner, the F&S lead them “to answer the questions with only materialistic/atheistic answers.”
This indoctrination is driven by the use of a concealed Orthodoxy (or doctrine) called methodological naturalism orscientific materialism. The Orthodoxy requires that explanations of the cause and nature of natural phenomena may only use natural, material or mechanistic causes, and must assume that teleological or design conceptions of nature are invalid.
John H. Calvert, counsel for the plaintiffs, stated that “this case is actually about a concealed Orthodoxy that requires all explanations provided by science to be materialistic/atheistic. It is particularly problematic in the area of origins science which addresses ultimate religious questions, like: Where do we come from? Public education about origins science needs to adequately and objectively inform age appropriate audiences about the use of the Orthodoxy and the relevant information and data it suppresses.” Origins science is a historical science that studies the origin and nature of the universe, life, and the diversity of life.
The Orthodoxy is not religiously neutral as it permits only materialistic/atheistic answers to ultimate religious questions. The concealed use of the Orthodoxy in the F&S has the effect of promoting the core tenets of non-theistic religions like Atheism and Religious (secular) Humanism.
The Complaint describes other mechanisms and strategies used by the F&S to establish the materialistic/atheistic worldview. These include systematic omissions and misrepresentations, teaching the materialistic/atheistic ideas to primary school children whose minds are susceptible to blindly accepting them as true, programs designed to cause the views to become habits of mind, and the implicit exclusion of theists from provisions that require education to promote “equity,” diversity and non-discrimination.
The Complaint asks the court to enjoin the implementation of the F&S or, in the alternative, to enjoin the provisions of the Standards that deal with the teaching of origins in grades K through 8 and in grades 9 through 12 unless measures are taken to teach the subject objectively so that the effect of the instruction is religiously neutral.
The case against the Kansas Board is relevant to all other states in the U.S. The other states that have recently adopted the Standards must now consider whether they should proceed with the expense of implementing a constitutionally suspect program. The same issue will confront other states that may be considering their adoption.
Inquiries about the complaint should be directed to Legal Counsel as follows:
John Calvert, Esq., 816-797-2869
Kevin Snider, Esq., Chief Counsel, Pacific Justice Institute, 916-857-6900
Douglas Patterson, Esq. 913-663-1300
Citizens for Objective Public Education is a not-for-profit Corporation. Its mission is to educate the public about the religious rights of parents, students, and taxpayers in public education. It seeks to do this by promoting objectivity in public school curricula that address religious questions in a manner that will produce a religiously neutral effect.