As that Wikipedia article explains, the NGSS were drafted as a privately funded (i.e., non-governmental) effort by the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Research Council, and others. States remain free to run their own education systems. They may adopt the NGSS voluntarily, or they don’t have to. About a half-dozen have adopted the NGSS, and the last state to do so that we know of was Kentucky — although it’s still uncertain what’s going to happen there. See Kentucky OKs Next Generation Science Standards?
The Discoveroids hate the NGSS, as Casey wrote yesterday in Nationalized Science Education, Privately Funded and Formulated in Secret: “Next Generation Science Standards” Are Ripe for Criticism. Why do the Discoveroids feel that way? As Casey puts it:
The NGSS are ardently pro-Darwin-only, and would withhold from students any information about the scientific weaknesses in Darwinian theory.
[L]eading groups skeptical of modern Darwinian theory (including Discovery Institute) were excluded from the NGSS drafting process, but pro-Darwin advocacy groups like the National Center for Science Education, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Science Teachers Association were invited.
Now it seems that in spite of their official adoption of the NGSS, things aren’t over yet in Kansas. At the website of Fox News we find this remarkably fair, unbiased story: Lawsuit filed in Kansas to block climate change, evolution curriculum. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
An anti-evolution group [the grotesquely misnamed Citizens for Objective Public Education] filed a federal lawsuit Thursday to block Kansas from using new, multistate science standards in its public schools, arguing the guidelines promote atheism and violate students’ and parents’ religious freedom.
Oh goodie — another thrilling court case for us to write about. Let’s read on:
The new standards, like the ones they replaced, reflect the mainstream scientific view that evolution is well-established. Most board members believed the guidelines will improve science education by shifting the emphasis in science classes to doing hands-on projects and experiments.
That’s right, dear reader. This is from Fox News. They continue:
The nonprofit organization [that filed the suit] based in the small community of Peck, south of Wichita, was joined in its lawsuit by 15 parents from across the state with a total of 18 children — most of them in public schools — and two taxpayers from the Kansas City-area community of Lake Quivira. The parents say they’re Christians who want to instill a belief in their children that “life is a creation made for a purpose.”
It shouldn’t be too difficult for a court to handle this one. Here’s more:
“The state’s job is simply to say to students, `How life arises continues to be a scientific mystery and there are competing ideas about it,”‘ said John Calvert, a Lake Quivira attorney involved in the lawsuit.
John Calvert? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We remember that name from the Kansas evolution hearings back in 2005. Wikipedia lists him among the participants and says:
John Calvert – Lawyer who has worked closely with the Discovery Institute in finding constitutionally allowable ways to bring intelligent design and failing there, Teach the Controversy, into public schools. Managing Director of Intelligent Design network, inc., an organization that seeks intelligent design taught in public education.
[Addendum: We just realized we once posted about one of Calvert’s essays, which was published in WorldNetDaily: WorldNetDaily: Cognitive Blowout!]
So he’s back in action. This is exciting! Moving along:
Joshua Rosenau, programs and policy director for the Oakland, Calif.-based National Center for Science Education, said Calvert has been making such an argument for years and “no one in the legal community has put much stock in it.”
“They’re trying to say anything that’s not promoting their religion is promoting some other religion,” Rosenau said, dismissing the argument as “silly.”
Fox News is scrupulously presenting both sides. Here’s another excerpt:
Calvert said the new standards are particularly troubling because students would start learning evolutionary concepts in kindergarten. “By the time you get into the third grade, you learn all the essential elements of Darwinian evolution,” Calvert said. “By the time you’re in middle school, you’re a Darwinist.”
How horrible! Moving on with the news story, Fox says this:
The information included in the lawsuit is reminiscent of material skeptical of evolution inserted at the urging of Calvert and other intelligent design proponents in science guidelines adopted by a conservative-led State Board of Education in 2005.
Ah yes, who can ever forget The Kansas Crazy Days. And now we come to the end:
Steven Case, director of the University of Kansas’ science education center, said previous court rulings suggest that the new lawsuit “won’t hold up.”
“This is about as frivolous as lawsuits get,” Case said.
So there you are. Kansas creationism is back in the news. Your Curmudgeon is pleased.
Addendum: The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) has a new post about this — see Anti-NGSS lawsuit filed in Kansas.
They provide a link to the plaintiffs’ complaint — it’s a 51-page pdf file: COPE et al. v. Kansas State Board of Education et al.. COPE, the lead plaintiff’s initials, stands for “Citizens for Objective Public Education.”
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