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Judges in California ruled on two cases related to Christian education in August, deciding against an association of Christian schools but ruling in favor of parents' right to homeschool without a teaching degree.

A federal judge upheld the University of California's refusal to recognize certain high-school courses offered by Christian schools when considering admissions eligibility.

U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero ruled that UC professors had a "rational basis" for rejecting credit for five courses, most of which used textbooks from Pensacola Christian College's A Beka Book curricula publisher. A biology course that used A Beka Book's Biology: God's Living Creation was deemed by a UC professor to have failed at adequately teaching critical thinking or the theory of evolution.

UC provost Wyatt R. Hume praised the ruling. "As we have said all along, the question the university addresses in reviewing courses is not whether they have religious content, but whether they provide adequate instruction in the subject matter," he said.

The schools have appealed the recent decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Charles Haynes, senior scholar at the First Amendment Center, believes the case could have implications for schools across the country.

"The University of California claims that they are not interfering with what this Christian school or other schools are teaching, that they're just setting standards for admissions," Haynes said. "A closer look reveals that by denying credit because of their religious content, the California school is putting pressure on Christian schools to teach courses from a secular perspective."

In another closely watched case, a California Court of Appeals ruled that state law allows parents ...

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October 2008

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