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Austin Cline

Florida: Humanist Charter School to Open

By November 29, 2004

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Quite a few of the "charter schools" one hears about tend to be religious in nature, but recently a humanist charter school was approved by the Hillsborough County School District in Tampa, Florida. Religious conservatives lament the presence of "secular humanism" in public schools, but this will be the first time where they would be right.

Humanist Network News reports:

The Humanists of Florida Association (HFA) successfully filed the application to open the public charter school. The school will be named "Carl Sagan Academy" in honor of the late Carl Sagan, astronomer and humanist. Sagan is most famous for making science interesting, relevant and understandable to everyday people.

"The board and membership of HFA is committed to making Carl Sagan Academy a successful school that produces exceptional students, ready and able to become full and active participants in American society," said Jennifer Hancock, executive director of the Humanists of Florida Association. ... The HFA is dedicated to encouraging free inquiry, teaching of the scientific method, rational problem-solving and democratic principles.

It will be interesting to see how well the school does. Any successes will be a problem for the Christian Right because they will demonstrate that claims about the need for religion or problems of secular humanism in schools are overblown at the very least. Of course, given the explicit humanist nature of the school, I wonder if they will have any difficulty attracting students?

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