In September, a Kansas group filed a lawsuit attempting to block the state from adopting new science guidelines, saying it was an attempt to indoctrinate students into a "non-theistic worldview." But a federal judge has dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that it failed to sufficiently demonstrate any specific injuries.
Kansas is one of twelve states that has, thus far, adopted the Next Generation Science Standards, a set of benchmarks developed to update K-12 science education in public schools for the first time since 1998. The group Citizens for Objective Public Education argued that the standards—especially the lessons about evolution and the Big Bang theory—would cause lasting harm:
The [guidelines] take impressionable children into the religious sphere by leading them to ask ultimate religious questions like what is the cause and nature of life and the universe - "where do we come from?"
These questions are exceedingly important…regarding the purpose of life and how it should be lived ethically….Instead of explaining to students that science has not answered these religious questions, the [guidelines] seek to cause them to accept that controversial materialistic/atheistic answers are valid.
No secular purpose exists for the state seeking to teach impressionable young children about a materialistic/atheistic view of origins before the mind of the child has achieved the necessary cognitive development….The effect of seeking to establish the Worldview, particularly in the minds of impressionable primary school students, amounts to an excessive governmental entanglement with religion.
However, U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree dismissed the group's lawsuit, noting they didn't specifically explain how they were directly harmed by the standards, other than asserting an "abstract stigmatic injury." He also noted that even under the guidelines, local school districts still directly control what's taught in classrooms.