Today I spoke at the Kansas BOE meeting during the Open Forum about KCFS’s letter to the superintendents. My main points were:
- The Board’s standards are seriously flawed.
- The Writing Committee’s Recommended standards have been completed, and are much better than the Board’s standards.
- KCFS believes that, based on the Dover criteria, the Board’s standards could be declared unconstitutional.
- The state BOE and their standards can’t be directly challenged because the state standards are non-binding, but if a district adopts and implements the state standards, then they are the entity that is at legal risk.
Therefore, KCFS urges districts to reject the Board standards and adopt the Committee’s Recommended standards.
The last bulleted point above caught the attention of some reporters and audience members, who told me later they appreciated having this distinction pointed out: it is the local district who could pay for the Board’s constitutionally flawed standards, not the Board itself.
My colleague in Ohio, Dick Hoppe, calls this the “Dover trap.” The Board standards may embolden districts with creationist leanings to bring ID creationist material into the classroom and to invoke the Board standards as their justification. At that point, the local district will become a potential target for a lawsuit – a potential Dover situation for the district. District’s should be aware of this danger.
You can listen to the speech here.