Thanks to a bill pushed through by governor Bobby Jindal, thousands of students in Louisiana received state voucher money, transferred from public school funding, to attend private religious schools, some of which teach from a Christian curriculum that suggests the Loch Ness Monster disproves evolution and states that the alleged creature, which has never been demonstrated to even exist, has been tracked by submarine and is probably a plesiosaur. The curriculum also claims that a Japanese fishing boat caught a dinosaur.
On the list of schools approved to receive funding through the voucher funding, which critics warn could eventually cut public school funding in half, are schools that teach from the Christian fundamentalist A Beka Book, Bob Jones University Press, and Accelerated Christian Education curriculum.
What's in that curriculum? In 2011, researcher Rachel Tabachnick and I co-produced a 35-minute documentary on the spread of a similar voucher program in Pennsylvania and other US states, titled School Choice: Taxpayer-Funded Creationism, Bigotry, and Bias. Embedded at the end of this post is an eight-minute video segment from that documentary with scans from material in currently used A Beka Book and Bob Jones University Press texts (in this May 25, 2011 story Tabachnick provides quotes from those textbooks.)
ne of the schools cleared to receive substantial funding through Jindal's voucher program is Eternity Christian Academy, in Westlake, LA. According to the Eternity Christian Academy website, the school uses the Accelerated Christian Education curriculum. So, what's in the ACE curriculum?
An August 29, 2009 story in the Times Educational Supplement, a British publication for teachers, provides an excerpt from an Accelerated Christian Education science textbook:
Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence.
Have you heard of the `Loch Ness Monster' in Scotland? `Nessie,' for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur.
Could a fish have developed into a dinosaur? As astonishing as it may seem, many evolutionists theorize that fish evolved into amphibians and amphibians into reptiles. This gradual change from fish to reptiles has no scientific basis. No transitional fossils have been or ever will be discovered because God created each type of fish, amphibian, and reptile as separate, unique animals. Any similarities that exist among them are due to the fact that one Master Craftsmen fashioned them all."
Extract from Biology 1099, Accelerated Christian Education Inc. (1995)
Among the other claims taught in ACE science curriculum, according to Scaramanga, are the following (the last three ACE curriculum claims are detailed in a subsequent post by Scaramanga titled "5 Even Worse Lies from Accelerated Christian Education"):
- Science Proves Homosexuality is a Learned Behavior - The Second Law of Thermodynamics Disproves Evolution - No Transitional Fossils Exist - Humans and Dinosaurs Co-Existed - Evolution Has Been Disproved - A Japanese Whaling Boat Found a Dinosaur - Solar Fusion is a Myth
Like the ACE curriculum, A Beka and Bob Jones textbooks promote Young-Earth creationism, are heavily laden with political bias, and at times verge on racism. As shown in the following video, among the dubious, factually incorrect, politically tendentious, and racially and culturally insensitive claims in A Beka Book and Bob Jones University Press textbooks are the following:
- Only ten percent of Africans can read or write, because Christian mission schools have been shut down by communists. - "the [Ku Klux] Klan in some areas of the country tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross... In some communities it achieved a certain respectability as it worked with politicians." - "God used the 'Trail of Tears' to bring many Indians to Christ." - It "cannot be shown scientifically that that man-made pollutants will one day drastically reduce the depth of the atmosphere's ozone layer." - "God has provided certain 'checks and balances' in creation to prevent many of the global upsets that have been predicted by environmentalists." - the Great Depression was exaggerated by propagandists, including John Steinbeck, to advance a socialist agenda. - "Unions have always been plagued by socialists and anarchists who use laborers to destroy the free-enterprise system that hardworking Americans have created." - Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential win was due to an imaginary economic crisis created by the media. - "The greatest struggle of all time, the Battle of Armageddon, will occur in the Middle East when Christ returns to set up his kingdom on earth."
Teaching hate and bigotry on top of false information ... leaves the students ignorant, misinformed and ill-suited for respectful public interaction with other people.
Not that I'm an expert or anything... but that sounds kinda against-the-constitution or something. Government-funded religious schools?
Indeed it should be, but this is the gambit of the GOP to shoehorn religious teaching into taxpayer funding. They argue that vouchers allow parents to choose the school for their kids, which they do have, so the question is whether it should be funded by tax dollars.
If it is a Catholic School with "a few extra school-assemblies for Easter and Christmas mass" and without "a significantly different curriculum" and it gets muddy if the kids have to attend the assemblies ...
The trouble really arises though when the curriculum is different, especially when it includes false information and religious indoctrination. The schools described in the article seem to me to be the opposite of the Montessori program, authoritarian, suppressive and with religious indoctrination coupled with racial and homophobic bigotry.
Without including the religious indoctrination these schools should be shut down and sued for teaching falsehoods and racial and homophobic bigotry and hate.