Curriculum

Georgia District Settles Lawsuit

By Sean Cavanagh — January 09, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The theory of evolution will appear in biology textbooks in a suburban Atlanta school district—without any stickers, stamps, labels, or warnings attached to it.

Officials of the Cobb County, Ga., system have settled a long-running federal lawsuit by agreeing to keep written disclaimers declaring evolution “a theory, not a fact” and calling for it to be “critically considered” from being affixed to science texts.

The Cobb County school board originally voted to place stickers on the textbooks in 2002, but a group of parents in the 106,000-student district sued to halt the decision. They said the disclaimers violated the constitutional ban on government establishment of religion.

In 2005, U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper, in Atlanta, ordered the stickers removed. But last year, a federal appeals court sent the decision back to his court, citing concerns about the record of evidence in the case.

While maintaining that the stickers were constitutional, Cobb County officials said last month that they did not want to prolong the legal fight. “[W]e faced the distraction and expense of starting all over with more legal actions and another trial,” the board’s chairwoman, Teresa Plenge, said in a Dec. 19 statement.

The settlement came almost a year after a federal judge in Pennsylvania issued a sweeping decision declaring that the Dover, Pa., school district’s policy promoting a supposed alternative to evolution was unconstitutional. The judge said that the alternative, called intelligent design, amounts to religious belief; legal observers have predicted that his ruling would make it harder for districts to single out evolution for what scientists say is unsubstantiated criticism, when students are told of the theory in science classes. (“Possible Road Map Seen in Dover Case,” Jan. 4, 2006.)

The theory of evolution states that humans and other living things have developed over time through natural selection and random mutation. Intelligent design holds that living things show signs of having been shaped by an unidentified creator.

The Cobb County disclaimers have not appeared on textbooks since Judge Cooper’s 2005 order, district officials say. The settlement calls for the district to keep any “stickers, labels, stamps, inscriptions, or other warnings” about evolution off science texts. District officials agreed to pay $167,000 for the plaintiffs’ legal expenses.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the January 10, 2007 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Recruitment & Retention Webinar
Be the Change: Strategies to Make Year-Round Hiring Happen
Learn how to leverage actionable insights to diversify your recruiting efforts and successfully deploy a year-round recruiting plan.
Content provided by Frontline
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Critical Ways Leaders Can Build a Culture of Belonging and Achievement
Explore innovative practices for using technology to build an environment of belonging and achievement for all staff and students.
Content provided by DreamBox Learning
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Professional Development Webinar
Strategies for Improving Student Outcomes with Teacher-Student Relationships
Explore strategies for strengthening teacher-student relationships and hear how districts are putting these methods into practice to support positive student outcomes.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Curriculum Many Adults Did Not Learn Media Literacy Skills in High School. What Schools Can Do Now
Eighty-four percent of adults say they are on board with requiring media literacy in schools, according to a survey by Media Literacy Now.
4 min read
Image of someone reading news on their phone.
oatawa/iStock/Getty
Curriculum Is Your School Facing a Book Challenge? These Online Resources May Help
Book challenges are popping up with more frequency. Here are supports for teachers fighting censorship.
5 min read
Amanda Darrow, director of youth, family and education programs at the Utah Pride Center, poses with books that have been the subject of complaints from parents in recent weeks on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021, in Salt Lake City.
Amanda Darrow, the director of youth, family, and education programs at the Utah Pride Center in Salt Lake City, poses with books that have been the subject of complaints from parents in recent weeks.
Rick Bowmer/AP Photo
Curriculum Q&A These Teachers' Book List Was Going to Be Restricted. Their Students Fought Back
The Central York district planned to restrict use of some materials last year. Here's how teachers and their students turned the tide.
8 min read
Deb Lambert, director of collection management for the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library for the past three years, looks over the books at the Library Services Center on Sept. 25, 2015. When a flap occurs at the library, the matter becomes the responsibility of Lambert.
More districts are seeking to restrict access to some books or remove them from classrooms and libraries altogether.
Charlie Nye/The Indianapolis Star via AP
Curriculum Sex Education: 4 Questions and Answers About the Latest Controversy
Why the touchy issue of sex education has erupted again, and what it means for schools.
4 min read
Image of condoms.
iStock/Getty