Good And Bad News About D.C.’s Charter Schools and Creationism

First, the good news (boldface mine):

A D.C. public charter school network scrapped plans to award Liberty University a contract to offer online courses to high school students, including a class that would have taught them how to “apply a biblical perspective” to speech writing.

Friendship Public Charter School published a notice about the contract with the evangelical Christian university in a community newspaper and on its website in early February. But after The Washington Post on Tuesday asked about the courses the charter school planned to offer through the university, Friendship said it had nixed the plans altogether….

Charter schools have more autonomy than traditional public schools to decide their curriculum and who they hire to provide courses. But the D.C. Public Charter School Board, which oversees Friendship and other charters in the District, says religious curriculums cannot be offered or taught at charters.

“Public charter schools must follow the same legal requirements regarding religious instruction as traditional public schools,” the charter board states on its website….

The courses under consideration were screenwriting, graphic design and speech. According to Liberty’s website, students enrolled in the speech course learn a foundation for developing communication skills, including speaking before audiences and small groups, and in other conversations.

It also states that the learning outcomes for the course include the ability to “apply a biblical perspective to topics such as the natural world, human identity and relationships, and culture and civilization.”

The sample chapter from the proposed textbooks makes it very clear this is a course in how to argue against evolution (pdf). This is a victory for those who think their tax dollars shouldn’t promote religious beliefs to which they do not adhere.

Unfortunately

Dupont Park Adventist School, in the District of Columbia, and has two schools receiving voucher students, says that in science classes, students will “explore and interpret evidences for the Genesis Flood and the Ice Age,” and “distinguish between the basic ideas of and evidence for naturalistic evolution and special creation.”

Maybe instead of exploring and interpreting “evidences”, Dupont Park Adventist should teach its students ‘Englishes.’ Just a thought. This is how ‘teaching the controversy’ is how creationism is taught in publicly-funded schools.

One step forward, one step back…

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