UC lawsuit response. Original is at http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/factsheets/courseapproval.pdf
Facts About The University of California
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
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
UC's course-approval process
- The University fully recognizes the right of public and
private school personnel to select instructional materials
for their students in their course curricula. Not every course
must meet UC's college preparatory requirements, and the
University makes no attempt to restrict what any private or
public school chooses to teach.
- In the context of admissions, however, UC under the California Constitution does have the authority and
responsibility to establish academic standards for admission
to the University and to determine whether specific coursework
submitted by a high school will count as fulfilling UC's
college preparatory requirements.
- UC's course-approval process applies to all California high schools, including public, private, and charter
schools, which propose new or substantially revised courses
they wish to be counted as a-g courses.
- For a course to be approved as an a-g course, the school must submit a request with the course
curriculum, textbook information, and other supplemental
materials to the University for approval. To assist schools
in creating approved course outlines, UC publishes a
comprehensive guide at www.ucop.edu/doorways/guide. The
website describes the a-g requirements, provides dozens of
sample course descriptions for both standard and innovative
courses, offers useful tools and resources, and answers
frequently asked questions.
- The course approval process is interactive. If a course is not initially approved, University officials are
available to provide additional assistance, through a
collaborative consultation process, to help the schools create
course outlines that meet the University's requirements. More
than 80 percent of courses submitted to UC are approved.
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.
- Students can demonstrate their understanding of the key knowledge and concepts in specific fields by passing
standardized tests in these areas.
- Students can complete a course in the same subject at a local community college.
- Students who are missing many courses or attend a high school that does not have an approved course list can
become eligible for admission "by examination alone" or "by exception." Students seeking eligibility by
examination alone need to meet higher minimum scores than students who submit test scores in addition to
grades in approved courses. Students who are admitted by exception are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
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