11-7-06: Quebec Says Private Schools Must Teach Evolution or Close
BY RON CSILLAG
©2006 Religion News Service
Quebec's education ministry has warned private, unlicensed evangelical schools in the province they must teach Darwin's theory of evolution and sex education or face closure.
The education ministry said on October 24 that the province will negotiate for several weeks with an unspecified number of evangelical schools to determine whether they can meet provincial standards that include the teaching of evolution.
"Schools must, of course, follow the curriculum, which includes the teaching of Darwin's theory of evolution," Education Minister Jean-Marc Fournier said in a statement.
The directive came following a complaint from a school board in Quebec's southwestern Outaouais region that children at a small evangelical school near Saint-Andre-Avellin were not being taught the full provincial curriculum.
But supporters of the school, which enrolls 20 students, counter that it teaches a "worldview" that is essential for their students. "We offer a curriculum based on a Christian worldview rather than a humanistic worldview," said Alan Buchanan, a former public school teacher and head of a committee that reorganized the school's administration this past summer.
Buchanan told the National Post newspaper that the school teaches evolution as well as intelligent design, the idea that the natural world is too complex to be explained by natural selection. "We want the children to understand what they're going to meet in the outside world, and also what's wrong with the theory," he said. "We also teach a better theory -- that God created the universe and so on."