Kansas educators are on the defensive for teaching science in science classes, with a pro-creationist group accusing them of "indoctrinating" children into an "atheistic faith-based doctrine."
The Kansas State Board of Education is defending its curriculum, which teaches evolution and climate change in primary school classes, against the legal challenge from Citizens for Objective Public Education, an organization claiming the educational standards endorse a "non-theistic world view," reports the Topeka Capital Journal. COPE claims the standards violate first and fourteenth amendment rights of "parents, students and taxpayers."
The case was thrown out in December but the decision to do so is currently being appealed.
COPE asserts the state board of education is "indoctrinating" school children to accept an "atheistic faith-based doctrine" that "holds that explanations of the cause and nature of natural phenomena may only use natural, material or mechanistic causes, and must assume that supernatural and teleological or design conceptions of nature are invalid," according to their website.
According to COPE's website, the lawsuit alleges:
...that the Policy explicitly and implicitly seeks to establish a non-theistic religious worldview by leading students to ask “ultimate religious questions” like “where do we come from?” Rather than objectively informing children of the actual state of our scientific knowledge about these questions in an age-appropriate manner, the [Framework and Standards] lead them “to answer the questions with only materialistic/atheistic answers.”
COPE filed its initial lawsuit in 2013, but U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree dismissed it, saying it lacked legal standing, the Capital Journal reports.
Kansas educational board officials say COPE is grossly mischaracterizing the standards as atheistic, asserting in a Monday court filing that they simply establish "'performance expectations' for what students should know and be able to do at each grade level," the Capital Journal reports.