Academic Freedom in the Balance
Graduate School Sues Texas Agency Over Academic Discrimination
Contact: Lawrence Ford, Director of Communications, Institute for Creation Research (ICRGS), 214-615-8398, firstname.lastname@example.org
DALLAS, April 21 /Christian Newswire/ – The Institute for Creation Research Graduate School (ICRGS), a California-based science education institution established in 1981, has filed suit in both federal and Texas state courts against the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), its commissioner, and some of its board members, for interfering with the constitutional rights of ICRGS in its application to move the school to Texas.
Named as defendants in the suits are THECB Commissioner Raymund A. Paredes, Lyn Bracewell Phillips, Joe B. Hinton, Elaine Mendoza, Laurie Bricker, A. W. "Whit" Riter III, Brenda Pejovich, and Robert Shepard, in both their individual and official capacities, for discriminating against the private school's academic and religious viewpoint.
ICRGS additionally names as defendant in the state lawsuit the THECB agency itself, which has a prior record of abusing the constitutional rights of other private educational institutions in the state, as determined by the Texas Supreme Court in 2007.
Since 1981 ICRGS has offered the Master of Science degree in biology, astro-geophysics, geology, and science education, and recently consolidated its four majors into a single Science Education major on a predominately distance educational platform, except for required science labs and/or field studies. Since its inception, ICRGS faculty members have been highly credentialed science professionals with terminal degrees from such schools as UCLA, Harvard, UC Berkeley, and other competent institutions, along with noted experience in science research at top private and government laboratories in the United States.
In fall 2007, the THECB Site Evaluation Team and Advisory Committee recommended approval of the ICRGS application to grant degrees in the state of Texas. However, both agency recommendations were subsequently rejected by Commissioner Paredes after evolution-only activists pressured the commissioner to deny ICRGS a degree-granting license in the state.
After twice convening ex parte advisory committees of his choosing (both of which included no committee advisors with special competence in the private sector Christian education school market served by ICRGS), Commissioner Paredes recommended on April 23, 2008, that the THECB deny a Certificate of Authority to ICRGS, which the voting members did on April 24, 2008.
Since June 2008, ICRGS has worked through the administrative appeal process with the THECB, and the controversy is pending in the State Office of Administrative Hearings.
ICRGS is a private, non-profit graduate school that receives no state or federal funding.
For inquiries, contact the ICR Press Office at 214-615-8398 or write to email@example.com.
Evolutionists Lament That Americans Still Believe in God
by Lawrence E. Ford/January 24, 2009
In a recent U.S. News & World Report debate, Glenn Branch, Deputy Director of the National Center for Science Education, speculated that Charles Darwin “would not be happy to learn that almost half of Americans don’t accept evolution.”1
Actually, Mr. Branch, the majority of Americans (some 66 percent, according to Gallup) don’t buy the “theory” that we all randomly evolved from fish and monkeys.
Minority activist groups like the NCSE, whose mission is to squelch free scientific inquiry in education, aggressively lobby to keep scientific evidence out of public view—evidence that is embarrassing to Charles Darwin and the atheist-leaning science elite of today.
In some circles, that’s still called censorship.
Countering the evolutionary push to expel sound science education from any classroom—public or private—Dr. Henry Morris of ICR wrote in the article he submitted to U.S. News & World Report titled “Creationism and Education,” that while “biblical” creationism must not be taught in “public schools,” good science education should be mandatory.2
Which should be taught in public schools? Quite clearly, [ICR founder Dr. Henry] Morris stated that “creationists should not advocate that biblical creationism be taught in public schools, both because of judicial restrictions against religion in such schools and also (more importantly) because teachers who do not believe the Bible should not be asked to teach the Bible.”3
But the sad reality is that peddlers of extreme Darwinian philosophy like Mr. Branch and Eugenie Scott, director of the NCSE, wish to censor good science from public and private schools alike. Lobbyists like these are fearful that your children and mine will actually apply critical thinking skills to scientific theories. Imagine!
“Weaknesses? What weaknesses? Evolution [a.k.a. “origins by accident”] is a fact! There are no weaknesses!”
If Mr. Branch had done his homework, he would have discovered that even the National Science Teachers Association encourages discussion of controversial topics in the science classroom. It’s the way students learn to discern fact from fiction.
And when the scientific method is applied to evolution, Charles Darwin’s lauded book, On the Origin of Species, turns up like a bad novel every time. As Morris writes:
Embarrassingly, this “theory” cannot be scientifically observed in action today, nor can it be forensically observed in nature’s record of the past. But it is, nonetheless, believed. And so ardent are its followers that many scientists refuse to admit the weaknesses of this doctrine, let alone “allow a divine foot in the door,” as Harvard’s Richard Lewontin warns.4
Evolutionary scientists know it, and some even admit it (as long as they are careful not to get expelled from their universities).
I imagine that activist Eugenie Scott is gloating now that she somehow contributed to a defeat for those ignorant Texas hicks on the State Board of Education in Austin who wanted to attach the words “strengths and weaknesses” to evolution. Believe me, she is not fighting for your children to learn truth—not scientific truth, not moral truth, not absolute truth of any kind—but rather that your children will simply “believe”—like an irrational leap in the dark—and place their faith in Charles Darwin.
1. St. Angelo, S. ‘Should Creationism Be Taught in Public Schools". US News & World Report Weekly. Posted on usnews.com January 23, 2009, accessed January 23, 2009.
2. It should be noted that U.S. News & World Report editor Steve St. Angelo mislabeled ICR's position on public schools, despite the clearly referenced statements by Dr. Morris to the contrary, such as "creationists should not advocate that biblical creationism be taught in public schools."
3. St. Angelo, S. Ibid.
* Mr. Ford is Executive Editor.
California Judge Rules Against Academic Freedom - August 15, 2008
ICR Graduate School Files Appeal Petition with Texas Education Officials
DALLAS, May 28 /Christian Newswire/ -- The California-based Institute for Creation Research Graduate School (ICRGS), established in 1981, has submitted its formal petition to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) calling for the education agency to reverse its decision to deny ICRGS’ application for a Certificate of Authority to grant Master of Science degrees in the state of Texas.
The petition paves the way for ICRGS to sue the state agency and its officials in federal and/or state court.
The unconstitutional exercise of “viewpoint discrimination” is the focus of the ICRGS appeal and names Commissioner Raymund Paredes, Assistant Commissioner Joseph Stafford, Academic Excellence Committee chairperson Lyn Bracewell Phillips, and other THECB board members, who denied the application of ICRGS because its program is based on a creationist interpretation of scientific data rather than an evolutionary interpretation, which is prevalent in public education.
The ICRGS petition claims that the THECB failed to evaluate the ICRGS application without viewpoint discrimination. The formal petition sent to
The petition was also delivered to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott due to the THECB’s alleged violations of constitutional law standards.
ICR Graduate School Releases Documents in Texas Academic Freedom Case
May 2, 2008
On March 26, 2008, the Institute for Creation Research Graduate School (ICRGS) submitted documents to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) in Austin, Texas, in response to a request to provide institutional documentation that describes the Master of Science in Science Education program offered by the school. These documents were subsequently reviewed by the THECB as part of the ICRGS application for a Certificate of Authority to grant degrees in the state.
At the THECB Commissioners meeting on April 24, 2008, Commissioner Raymund Paredes and his board voted to deny the ICRGS authority in the state to grant the M.S. degree in Science Education. Dr. Paredes read into the record his recommendation at a committee meeting the day before, expressing his belief that the ICRGS promoted a viewpoint different from perceived science standards in the state, based on his non-public consultations with yet-to-be-identified science educators.
Because of the choice of the THECB to withhold from the public the ICRGS documents—documents that demonstrate that the ICRGS does indeed meet and, in some cases, exceed state educational standards—the ICRGS is making the entire document available to the public.
It will become clear to careful readers that 1) the ICRGS M.S. program is both a demanding and rigorous academic offering to Texas students desiring to be equipped in major disciplines of science and in the practical aspects of teaching science to others, and 2) the THECB, and its advisers, failed to properly evaluate the ICRGS program based on educational and academic standards, as expressed in the documents, preferring rather to penalize the ICRGS program because of differences in viewpoint regarding how and why ICRGS teaches science and science education.
The importance of the ICRGS’ institutional viewpoint of creationism, as an example of academic freedom, was explained by Dr. Eddy Miller, Dean and Chief Academic Officer of the ICRGS, who flew from California with other faculty members to attend and participate in the THECB proceedings.
The Institute for Creation Research, founded in 1970, began offering graduate degrees in California in 1981 where it received full authority by the state to operate its graduate school. Based in Santee, California, the ICRGS currently offers the M.S. in Science Education through an online distance education program.
For the past 27 years, qualified applicants have completed the M.S. degree through ICRGS, some going on to enter doctoral programs in the sciences at various universities throughout the U.S., while many have obtained their degree to assist them in the teaching of science in secondary and post-secondary schools, many of whom have had as their primary career emphasis the teaching of science in the Christian school environments.
The ICRGS, a private postsecondary institution which receives no federal funding, contends that 1) the ICRGS program is completely voluntary for qualified applicants, 2) the ICRGS program in no way compels graduates to only teach in state-funded public schools, and 3) the ICRGS program recognizes that its educational emphasis is well suited for the Christian school science teacher.
The ICRGS believes that the decision by the state of Texas unnecessarily discriminates against Texas residents seeking the type of education that the ICRGS can uniquely fulfill and has successfully offered for more than 25 years to students throughout the country.
Because of the decision by THECB Commissioner Raymund Paredes and the THECB Board, the state of Texas is denying a full-range of educational offerings to Texas residents in the area of science education, and in doing so, is failing to “close the gaps” in higher education.