UC lawsuit response. Original is at http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/factsheets/courseapproval.pdf

Facts About The University of California

September 2005

UC Policies for High School Course Approval

The Association of Christian Schools International, the Calvary Chapel Christian School in Murrieta, California, and six Calvary Chapel students have filed suit against the University of California. The plaintiffs claim that the University violated the freedom of speech and religion rights of some Christian schools when it concluded that some of their courses did not meet the University's requirements for college preparation. They also allege that students who attend these schools are therefore discriminated against in the University's admission process.

Background

The University of California reviews and assesses high school courses that are submitted to the University for approval as meeting the UC system's college preparatory course requirements known as the a-g requirements to assure that these courses include appropriate subject-matter content to meet UC academic standards. These requirements are intended to ensure that students coming to the University are conversant with accepted educational and scientific content and methods of inquiry at the level required for UC students and typically expected of educated citizens in the competitive workforce. In addition to completing the a-g curriculum, UC-bound students of course are free to take whatever additional courses they wish, including any religion courses their schools offer. The University welcomes students from a wide range of academic settings. Enrolling students from many different faiths and backgrounds enriches the University's community and the learning experience of our students. In fact, UC accepts courses from hundreds of schools affiliated with many religious faiths, and the University offers multiple alternative ways for students to meet the UC system's entrance requirements.

UC's course-approval process

UC admission requirements

The University's standards for admission apply to all students, regardless of the kind of school they attend. Students who have not taken a full curriculum of UC-approved college preparatory courses may nevertheless gain admission to the UC system in several ways: Details on these alternatives are available at www.universityofcalifornia.edu/admissions/undergraduate.html.

Specifics of the lawsuit

UC has approved 43 courses at Calvary Chapel as a-g college preparatory courses, and these courses cover all disciplines, including science. However, Calvary Chapel's applications for certain courses were not approved, for a number of reasons. In one case, a literature course was rejected because the use of an anthology as the only textbook was in direct conflict with UC's policy that students read assigned works in their entirety, meaning anthologies may not be the only texts required in literature courses. Some of the courses rejected by UC used certain textbooks published by Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Books as primary instructional materials. Although UC has approved courses that use other textbooks from these publishers, these books were reviewed by faculty who concluded they did not meet UC's guidelines for primary textbooks. Had the courses at issue used these textbooks as supplementary, rather than primary, texts, it is likely they would have been approved. The question the University must confront in reviewing these texts is not whether they have religious content, but whether they provide a comprehensive view of the relevant subject matter, reflecting knowledge generally accepted in the scientific and educational communities and with which a student at the university level should be conversant. In the books in question, the publishers themselves acknowledge that the primary goal is to teach religious doctrine rather than the scholarship that is generally accepted in the relevant fields of study. For example, the introduction to the primary textbook for the science courses in question states clearly that it teaches students that their conclusions must conform to the Bible, and that scientific material and methods are secondary:
"The people who have prepared this book have tried consistently to put the Word of God first and science second. To the best of the author's knowledge, the conclusions drawn from observable facts that are presented in this book agree with the Scriptures. If a mistake has been made (which is probable since this book was prepared by humans) and at any point God's Word is not put first, the author apologizes." (Source: Biology for Christian Schools, 2nd Edition / Bob Jones University Press, p. vii.)
The University has declined to approve courses that use as their primary source the books named in the case, not because they have religious content, but because they fail to meet the University's standards for effectively teaching the required subject matter. Again, the University does not approve whether the school can teach the course or use the text, but whether students who take the course will have it counted as having met a college preparatory requirement at UC.