The Kansas State Department of Education said Friday that it will move forward to implement the new Next Generation Science Standards, despite a federal lawsuit filed this week that claims they violate freedom of religion.
"The standards are rich in content and practice, arranged in a coherent manner across disciplines and grades to provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education," the department said in a statement released to the media.
Kansas is one of seven states so far to adopt the new standards, which treat evolution as an established scientific principle. Kansas was one of the lead states in developing the standards, and the state board formally adopted them in June.
On Thursday, a group called Citizens for Objective Public Education Inc. filed a suit claiming the standards violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits the government from either establishing a religion or prohibiting the free exercise of religion.
The group claims the standards promote an "atheistic worldview." The plaintiffs are asking the court to either strike down the standards as unconstitutional or order the state to teach theological-based theories of origin alongside evolution.