YOU DID IT! AZ Science Standards to be Based on Actual Science

Diane Douglas' standards rejectedGive yourselves a hand, Secular Supporters! You spoke out en masse, and your voices were heard. 

Thanks in large parts to your activism, the AZ Board of Education voted 6-4 to adopt science standards that recognize evolution and climate change, rejecting Superintendent Diane Douglas’ suggested standards that privileged religious belief over fact-based information. 

In the words of our Board Chair, Zenaido Quintana: “We’ve been very concerned about Diane Douglas’ efforts to push her religious views on more than a million kids in Arizona’s public schools. Our students deserve to be taught science in their science classes, and to be free from religious indoctrination at school. The State Board of Education made the right decision in adopting science standards approved by highly-qualified science teachers. We appreciate that the Board listened to the voices of science experts and secular allies in making their decision. We are grateful our community was heard.”

Nice job! We’re so glad that Arizona students will receive a science education based on facts, not dogma.

Read more: Phoenix New Times; AZ Central

Help us keep fighting for secular public policies! Make a donation to the Secular Coalition today

 

2018 AZ Legislative Voter Guide

Want to know where the candidates stand on the issues?

Before you vote, peruse our 2018 Arizona Legislative Voter Guide.

Candidates running for Arizona State Senate and State House of Representatives  received the Secular Coalition for Arizona’s “Candidate Questionnaire.”

The questionnaire consisted of 12 policy positions addressing subjects important to secular voters, from science education to anti-discrimination, access to reproductive health care to medical aid in dying, and much more.

This November, it’s more important than ever to know where candidates for Arizona House and Senate seats stand on these important issues that affect all Arizonans.

 

Candidate Surveys for November, 2018 Election

We want you to be informed before November’s election!

The Secular Coalition for Arizona offered each candidate the opportunity to respond to a survey about their views on secular-related issues. We’ll publish each survey as we receive it. 
 

Secular AZ Lauds Decision Limiting School Board Prayer

Secular Coalition for Arizona
www.secularaz.org
Contact: Tory Roberg, Director of Government Affairs – tory@secularaz.org – 623-570-6396

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Secular AZ lauds decision limiting school board prayer

(Thurs., July 26, 2018) Phoenix, Ariz. — In a unanimous decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday, judges ruled that California’s Chino Valley Unified School District Board was in violation of the Establishment Clause by promoting Christianity with prayers and Bible readings at meetings. Secular Coalition for Arizona calls the ruling a major victory for the separation of religion from government, and warns Arizona school boards to heed the decision.

“It’s wrong for elected officials to use their position as a way to push their religious beliefs during government proceedings,” said Zenaido Quintana, President of the Secular Coalition for Arizona. “Secular AZ is committed to ensuring this doesn’t happen at any government meetings in our state, especially at the school board level where kids might be subjected to evangelizing. The Ninth Circuit validated that our position is on the right side of the law.”

The Court specified that religious activity at school board meetings is not within the legislative prayer tradition that allows certain types of prayer to open legislative sessions. “Unlike a session of Congress or a state legislature, or a meeting of a town board, the Chino Valley Board meetings function as extensions of the educational experience of the district’s public schools,” the Court wrote in its decision. “The presence of large numbers of children and adolescents, in a setting under the control of public school authorities, is inconsonant with the legislative-prayer tradition.”

The lawsuit was brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation on behalf of two parents of students in the district and twenty Doe plaintiffs (including students, parents, district employees, a former district employee, and attendees of school board meetings).

Quintana says Secular AZ will continue monitoring local government meetings to make sure the religious freedom of students is not being violated by elected officials’ evangelizing.

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The Secular Coalition for Arizona is a nonprofit advocacy organization that works to ensure a secular state government. We lobby on behalf of all individuals who believe that public policy free of religious preference is the best way to ensure freedom of conscience for Arizonans of all faiths and of none. Secular AZ is the local affiliate of the Secular Coalition for America.

Reverend Speaks Out Against Removing Evolution from Science Standards

Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas is attempting to limit the use of the word “evolution” in Arizona high schools’ science curriculum, in spite of more than a year of work by 100 educators, parents and community members who drafted new science education standards. The Secular Coalition for Arizona strongly opposes this attempt to supplant fact-based learning with religious dogma. Many agree, including Reverend David Felten of The Fountains United Methodist Church in Fountain Hills. 

In an interview on KJZZ, Dr, Felten explains why he believes evolution should remain part of the science standards for public high schools. Listen to the interview here. 

 

Evolution Under Attack in AZ Science Standards

We believe that the science education in Arizona schools should be based on scientific fact, not religious dogma… and science teachers from around the world agree! That’s why we’re concerned about Superintendent Diane Douglas’ attempt to cast doubt on evolution, thus undermining AZ students’ scientific literacy. Read our letter to the AZ State Board of Public Education here. 

Share your thoughts on this attack on evolution with the AZ Ed Dept; this survey on the science standards is open for public comment until May 28. 

 

Do We Need (Yet Another) Religious Endorsement in AZ Public Schools?

"God Enriches"? Which god?The Friendly Atheist can’t understand why the AZ Senate passed SB1289, allowing teachers and administrators to post a translation of the AZ state motto, Ditat Deus, in classrooms…. and Secular AZ agrees.

Historically, the motto has always been in Latin; the Englsh translation is “God Enriches,” which refers to a passage in the Christian bible. Not only is the English translation ahistoric, it’s needlessly divisive given that 30% of Arizonans do not identify as Christian, and violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and our state contitution. Posting this translation will likely result in wasteful lawsuits school districts can ill afford, as we’ve seen in past court cases that have ruled against religious signage in the classroom.

Read more about this harmful attempt to insert religious preference into public schools, and Secular AZ’s opposition to it, at the Patheos blog

 

2017 Legislative Wrap Up is Here

The Secular Coalition for Arizona (Secular AZ) ignited our 2017 legislative work in a charged political environment colored by the general election. We started strong, locking arms in solidarity with over 40 anti-discrimination groups during an Opening Day rally. We began lobbying immediately on January 12th against regressive bills aimed at education, science, and women’s reproductive rights. Despite the steep challenges, we remain excited by our steady gains in visibility and impact in recent years. Here’s a summary of key wins and obstacles. Read the 2017 Legislative Wrap Up here.