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A-OK In Arkansas: School Administrator Admonishes Proselytizing Teacher

Next month marks the 49th anniversary of the first U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down officially sponsored prayer in public schools. The decision in Engel v. Vitale was issued on June 25, 1962.

The case is nearly half a century old, so it’s not like it’s fresh news. It’s always something of a surprise, then, when word gets out about teachers who decide to openly defy the Constitution. Read more

Back Zack!: Louisianians Should Support High School Senior’s Science Project

Every year at the Values Voter Summit in September, the Religious Right makes sure to put its young activists in the limelight. They serve as a reminder (and a warning) that the fundamentalist political agenda will be pushed for years to come.

Fortunately, advocates of church-state separation have our own youth activists ready to take them on. Baton Rouge, La., high school senior Zack Kopplin is a good example. Read more

Conflicts In Carolina: AU Acts To Stop School-Sponsored Religion In S.C. Public Schools

There is good news and bad news from the state of South Carolina today.

Let’s start with the good news: Members of the Florence School District 1 School Board have agreed to stop sending sectarian email messages to staff after Americans United advised against the practice. Read more

The Bold And The Brave: Saluting Those Who Stand Up For The Church-State Wall

On Tuesday I flew to New England to speak to a humanist group in Worcester, Mass. It was a great event, and I pleased to see so many people venture out on a cold night to hear what I had to say.

As I surveyed the crowd from the podium, I spotted an old friend in the third row: Ellery Schempp. Read more

Equal Access Except For Atheists?: Schools Must Not Discriminate Against Non-Religious Students

Back in 1984, Religious Right groups lobbied Congress in full force to pass a bill ensuring that Christian student clubs and organizations would be free to meet on public school campuses.

They succeeded in making the Equal Access Act the law of the land. The act states that under most circumstances, public schools must allow a wide range of student-run clubs to meet during “non-instructional” time. This opened the door for public schools to allow student religious clubs, including Bible study groups, to meet freely. Read more

‘Science Guy’ Speaks Out: Bill Nye Says Nay To Anti-Evolution Crusade, As Bills Pop Up In The States

With Darwin Day (Feb. 12) just around the corner, scientists, educators and citizens across the world are gearing up to celebrate the birth of Charles Darwin and his contributions to science.

As Bill Nye “The Science Guy” recently put it, teachers’ reluctance to teach Darwin’s theory of evolution is “horrible.” Scientific advances that benefit everyone could be at risk if students don’t learn sound science. Read more

Victory In Louisiana!: State Ed. Board Approves Sound Biology Textbooks

It appears that the state of Louisiana has come finally come to its senses when it comes to science education.

The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) voted 8-2 yesterday to approve high school biology textbooks that teach sound science, despite complaints by creationists who felt the books gave too much credibility to the theory of evolution. Read more

A Win In Louisiana: Textbook Council Backs Bona Fide Biology Books

We have some good news out of Louisiana today – news we can hardly believe.

By a vote of 8-4, the state’s Textbook/Media/Library Advisory Council voted to support biology textbooks that uphold sound science and do not allow fundamentalist religious concepts to interfere.

For once, Louisiana has provided a glimmer of hope that maybe it no longer wants to be a science-education laughing stock. Read more

Sorry, Soddy-Daisy!: Public Schools Should Not Promote One Faith Over Others

A Tennessee public school has done the right thing and agreed to stop broadcasting Christian prayers over the loudspeaker at football games and graduation ceremonies.

After students complained to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the group sent a letter to school officials asking them to discontinue the unconstitutional practice.

Hamilton County Schools Superintendent issued an order to halt the prayers, and yesterday Soddy-Daisy High School Principal John Maynard promised that he would. Read more

Pop Quiz: Americans Flunk Test On Religion In Public Schools

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life yesterday released the results of a quiz on religion it gave to about 3,400 Americans. The results are being much discussed on the Web, chiefly because Pew found that atheists and agnostics did better on the 32-question test than evangelicals, Catholics and mainline Protestants. Read more

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