Sunday, August 28, 2005

University of California Sets New Low, Keeps On Digging

Via the Education Wonks and we learn the following:

University of Calif. Sued Over Creationism

By Associated Press

August 27, 2005, 2:03 PM EDT

LOS ANGELES -- A group representing California religious schools has filed a lawsuit accusing the University of California system of discriminating against high schools that teach creationism and other conservative Christian viewpoints.

The Association of Christian Schools International, which represents more than 800 schools, filed a federal lawsuit Thursday claiming UC admissions officials have refused to certify high school science courses that use textbooks challenging Darwin's theory of evolution. Other rejected courses include "Christianity's Influence in American History."

They don't like the SAT because certain minorities score lower than whites and certain other minorities, they work to find ways around Prop 209 because they want to continue their affirmative action programs, and now they discriminate in admissions against students who went to Christian schools (if there is merit to this case). Truly sad. I'm glad I'm not an alumnus.


Ronnie said...

I, even though I am a Catholic, believe that just blindly saying evolution is incorrect because that's not what it says in the Bible is a very irresponsible thing to do. To teach that, I think is actually dangerous. Now this isn’t necessarily what is happening, but I highly doubt they are teaching any evolution with even the notion of correctness.

If I went to a school that taught math in which 1+1=3 and wanted to major in mathematics, I could see how they could have an issue and not take my math credits. If I wanted to be a biologist and were not taught evolution because it doesn't fit with the Bible, then I could see how they might not accept my credits.

Now this next topic doesn't really fit the subject as well, but I really believe just as we have a separation of church and state, we should have some sort of separation of church and education in the private sector. Having religious classes I think is very good for those who want to learn about their religion and other religions, but to start mixing religion into science might be taking it too far.

The part about the history class might have some merit, but I don't think taking any history class that specific does anyone any good, at least at the high school level. In high school the point is to learn all of the basics so you can choose what you want to pursue later and to have the skills to live in our society. If you are not taking classes that actually give all the information and just one side of it the only person your hurting is the student.

Now I don't want the government saying what classes we can and can't take, but I believe the school system should have some rights in saying what they believe fills their requirements. Without requirements for what's taught in a class, who knows what could be taught to children and accepted as enough. Making it where the exclusion of necessary information invalidates credits at least puts some standards on what is taught and learned.

Wow I really went on with this one. I'm really open to others opinions on this, but to sue the UC system for having standards is just laughable. The other accusations against the UC system I'm not even going to get into, at least not today. Hopefully someone comments with more specifics.

Darren said...

Christianity obviously plays an important role in American history. I don't see how teaching a history class using Christianity as a "thread" is any worse than teaching it with "minority views" or "working people" or any other subset as a thread.

As for the Darwin angle, the article says the books "challenge" the theory of evolution. Heck, I never even took biology in high school. If we took my public school transcript and sent it to UC with an identical transcript from one of these religious schools, the lawsuit alleges that the private school student would be at a disadvantage strictly because of the name of their school. That doesn't sit well with me. Why should one science class play such a role in determining whether or not someone gets into a UC?

The answer is clear. These religious schools are not pushing the same agenda that UC is pushing, the agenda I identified in the last paragraph of my post. This has nothing to do with UC's so-called academic standards, and everything to do with UC's PC standards.

Ronnie said...

The fact is that an education at a private school isn't that of a public school. I've known many people who have gone and they learn much more and less depending on subject. Public schools are relatively all the same throughout California, at least in curriculum. To say that there is no difference between a public and private school is just crazy. So then how can the transcripts translate directly? They can't. That's why I've always been a firm believer in a mandatory public school system with religious schooling outside of it. Then issues such as these as to whether a class fits the criteria wouldn't be an issue. I hope you can see where I’m coming from with this, I’ve written something like this on you blog before and I know your position, but I really think universal standards of what a class should entail is something that would benefit all.

Octavo Dia said...

My view on the creation/evolution in schools issue can be summed up here.

Darren said...

The Canadians do it better in Edmonton, Ronnie. There, the religious and other private schools all fall under the watchful eye of the school board, which ensures academic standards are maintained. Still, parents have a say in the type of environment their students get educated in.

As for whether creationism or evolution should be taught in schools, it seems a silly argument to me. One rests on science, which isn't always correct, and the other rests on faith, which by definition can't be proven. I'd rather stick with the *science* in a *science* class.

But back to the lawsuit at hand. IF the UC system is intentionally discriminating against students who attend private religious schools, I marvel at the arrogance and hypocrisy of the UC regents.

Ronnie said...

I completely agree with your last paragraph, if that is indeed what is happening. And the sad part is it actually might, but yet a private college would most likely favor the same transcript from a highly reputable private school then if it came from a public high school. So as in most things, college admissions might always have their flaws and prejudices. It’s too bad we live in a world where we can’t accept things for their face value, and have to arbitrarily assign a disfavor to some. The Canadian’s I think have this one right, at least as right as I've heard.

Darren said...

And with that we agree. Who'd'a thunk ?

KimJ said...

A poster on listed the following excerpts from the "biology" textbook UC won't count as science:
"The people who prepared this book have tried consistently to put the Word of God first and science second."
"If the conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong, no matter how many scientific facts may appear to back them."
If these are true, then I would agree that a student who used this book exclusively should not be considered to have passed a biology course. The authors admit their book is not primarily about science, so if a school uses this book exclusively they shouldn't be surprised at the outcome.

I think there is less of a case to be made for not counting a course like "Christianity's Influence in American History" as a history course. I would not count it in place of a US history requirement, no more than I would consider "Women's Influence in American History" to be a comprehensive course, but both are certainly history or at least general humanities courses.

Darren said...

I think we're reading more into this than is there.

If the UC system is refusing to accept particular courses (biology, for example) for credit because they don't pass academic muster, that's one thing. However, the suit alleges more. It alleges that the UC system is discriminating against schools that teach creationism and "other conservative Christian viewpoints". Might that include opposition to abortion? or abstinence?


Not being privy to the specifics, notice I'm being very journalistic here and saying what UC "allegedly" has done. I only denigrate them with the cavaet "if this is what they are really doing" or some similar wording.