August 26th, 2009 by M. French

Press Release from the Alliance Defense Fund:

LACONIA, N.H. — An Alliance Defense Fund allied attorney filed motions with a New Hampshire court Monday asking it to reconsider and stay its decision to order a 10-year-old home-schooled girl into a government-run school in Meredith.

Although the marital master making recommendations to the court agreed the child is “well liked, social and interactive with her peers, academically promising, and intellectually at or superior to grade level” and that “it is clear that the home schooling…has more than kept up with the academic requirements of the…public school system,” he nonetheless proposed that the Christian girl be ordered into a government-run school after considering “the impact of [her religious] beliefs on her interaction with others.”  The court approved the order.

“Parents have a fundamental right to make educational choices for their children.  In this case specifically, the court is illegitimately altering a method of education that the court itself admits is working,” said ADF-allied attorney John Anthony Simmons of Hampton.  “The court is essentially saying that the evidence shows that, socially and academically, this girl is doing great, but her religious beliefs are a bit too sincerely held and must be sifted, tested by, and mixed among other worldviews.  This is a step too far for any court to take.”

The parents of the child divorced in 1999.  The mother has home-schooled their daughter since first grade with curriculum that meets all state review standards.  In addition to home schooling, the girl attends supplemental public school classes and has also been involved in a variety of extra-curricular sports activities.

In the process of renegotiating the terms of a parenting plan for the girl, the guardian ad litem involved in the case concluded, according to the court order, that the girl “appeared to reflect her mother’s rigidity on questions of faith” and that the girl’s interests “would be best served by exposure to a public school setting” and “different points of view at a time when she must begin to critically evaluate multiple systems of belief…in order to select, as a young adult, which of those systems will best suit her own needs.”

Marital Master Michael Garner reasoned that the girl’s “vigorous defense of her religious beliefs to [her] counselor suggests strongly that she has not had the opportunity to seriously consider any other point of view” and then recommended that the girl be ordered to enroll in a government school instead of being home-schooled.  Judge Lucinda V. Sadler approved the recommendation and issued the order on July 14.

“The New Hampshire Supreme Court itself has specifically declared, ‘Home education is an enduring American tradition and right…,’” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Mike Johnson.  “There is clearly and without question no legitimate legal basis for the court’s decision, and we trust it will reconsider its conclusions.”

Simmons filed his motions and supporting brief in the case In the Matter of Kurowski and Kurowski (Voydatch) with the Family Division of the Judicial Court for Belknap County in Laconia.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith.  Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.

www.adfmedia.org

Note: Facts in ADF news releases are verified prior to publication but may change over time. Members of the media are encouraged to contact ADF for the latest information on this matter.

Thank God for the ADF. Who else would be able to fight cases like this which infringe on our religious and parental freedoms?

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March 28th, 2009 by M. French

The Texas State Board of Education approved new science standards that will encourage students in public schools to scrutinize “all sides” of scientific theories, including evolution.  According to the AP :

The curriculum will require that students “in all fields of science, analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations … including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.”

The Discovery Institute’s Evolution News Blog had this to say:

In a huge victory for those who favor teaching the scientific evidence for and against evolution, Texas today moved to the head of the class by requiring students to “critique” and examine “all sides of scientific evidence” and specifically requiring students to “analyze and evaluate” the evidence for major evolutionary concepts such as common ancestry, natural selection, and mutations.

“Texas has sent a clear message that evolution should be taught as a scientific theory open to critical scrutiny, not as a sacred dogma that can’t be questioned,” said Dr. John West, Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute. “Contrary to the claims of the evolution lobby, absolutely nothing the Board did promotes ‘creationism’ or religion in the classroom. Groups that assert otherwise are lying, plain and simple. Under the new standards, students will be expected to analyze and evaluate the scientific evidence for evolution, not religion. Period.”

The new requirements were contained in revised science standards approved today by the Texas State Board of Education. The science standards include language requiring students to “analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations…including examining all sides of scientific evidence… so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.” Equally important, the high school biology standards now require students to “analyze and evaluate” the scientific evidence for key parts of evolutionary theory, including common ancestry, natural selection, and mutations.

Discovery Institute has long endorsed the idea that evolution should be fully and completely presented to students, including its unresolved issues.

It’s encouraging to see that when it comes to Charles Darwin’s statement that “…a fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question,” Texas education leaders are in full agreement.

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