Creationism spreading in schools, thanks to vouchers

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These schools are in nine states (Florida, Indiana, Georgia, Ohio, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Colorado, Utah, Wisconsin) and the District of Columbia and were put in a database on creationistvouchers.com.  

A few of these creationist voucher schools are:

  • Liberty Christian School, in Anderson, Indiana, teaches from a creationist ABeka and ASCI curriculum.  They also take trips to the Creation Museum.
  • Rocky Bayou Christian School, in Niceville, Florida, in its section on educational philosophy, says “Man is presumed to be an evolutionary being shaped by matter, energy, and chance… God commands His people not to teach their children the way of the heathen.”
  • Creekside Christian Academy, in McDonough, Georgia, says, “The universe, a direct creation of God, refutes the man-made idea of evolution. Students will be called upon to see the divine order of creation and its implications on other subject areas.”

I first began investigating creationist school vouchers as my part of my fight against creationism in my home state of Louisiana. Over the past few months, I’ve learned creationist vouchers aren’t just a Louisiana problem—they’re an American problem. School vouchers are, as James Gill recently wrote in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, “the answer to a creationist’s prayer.”

Liberty Christian School, in Anderson, Indiana, has field trips to the Creation Museum and students learn from the creationist A Beka curriculum.  Kingsway Christian School, in Avon, Indiana, also has Creation Museum field trips.  Mansfield Christian School, in Ohio, teaches science through the creationist Answers in Genesis website, run by the founder of the Creation Museum.  The school’s Philosophy of Science page says, “the literal view of creation is foundational to a Biblical World View.”  All three of these schools, and more than 300 schools like them, are receiving taxpayer money.

So far, I have documented 310 schools, in nine states and the District of Columbia that are teaching creationism, and receiving tens of millions of dollars in public money through school voucher programs.

There is no doubt that there are hundreds more creationist voucher schools that have yet to be identified. The more than 300 schools I have already found are those that have publicly stated on their websites that they teach creationism or use creationist curricula.

There are hundreds more voucher schools, across the country, that are self-identified Christian academies, that appear very similar in philosophy to the ones I’ve identified in my research as teaching creationism.  These schools may not blatantly advertise that they teach creationism on their websites, or often don’t even have a website, but there is a good chance that hundreds more voucher schools are also teaching our children creationism.  Some states, Arizona and Mississippi, haven’t even released lists of schools participating in their voucher programs for the public to audit.

Written By: Zack Kopplin
continue to source article at tv.msnbc.com

7 COMMENTS

  1. What I would find particularly interesting is finding out if there is any qualitative difference in the education a student receives from one of these schools compared to secular schools. It is easy to conclude, without evidence, that a school which stresses fuckwittery will produce fuckwits. Does the evidence support this?

  2. It is interesting to me (a teacher) that the very politicians that lament the “state of education” in America are the ones that allow this to go on.

    Zack,
    Please continue to shine your brilliant light on this and (hopefully) we will see these vermin scurry away like the rats they are. You have my support, respect, and admiration.

  3. I want to echo what Crookedshoes has said as well! I’m not a teacher and in addition come from the UK but I have to say that your efforts are a great tonic to what we on this side of the pond usually hear.
    I’m sure your efforts and the attention they receive also help to give encouragement to other young people who don’t buy into the bull over there either, to make a go of it in their own areas.

  4. In reply to #1 by SomersetJohn:

    What I would find particularly interesting is finding out if there is any qualitative difference in the education a student receives from one of these schools compared to secular schools. It is easy to conclude, without evidence, that a school which stresses fuckwittery will produce fuckwits. Does the evidence support this?

    It is probably going to take a few years and a lots of children’s science educations panned to provide this evidence.
    It’s a bit like looking for a gas leak with lighted candle – any scientist can tell you the likely outcome, but the faith-brained pseudo-sceptic, would have to try it, – and then blame somebody else for the devilish explosion!

  5. “The principal of the Claiborne Christian School, in West Monroe, Louisiana, says in a school newsletter, “Our position at CCS on the age of the Earth and other issues is that any theory that goes against God’s Word is in error.” She also claims that scientists are “sinful men” trying to explain the world “without God” so they don’t have to be “morally accountable to Him.” “

    Are there really still people that dumb in USA? To think that they are allowed to teach is an abomination, an insult to humanity.

  6. Mr. Kopplin,

    I would like to provide you a copy of a letter I just sent to President Obama. It was a research assignment for my Master’s of Education course I am taking at the University of Minnesota – Duluth. I hope the letter finds you, and I hope it has some details you may not have seen as of yet.

    Thanks for your time, and keep up the good fight.

    April 8, 2013

    President Barack Hussein Obama II

    44th President of the United States

    White House

    1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

    Washington, D.C. 20500

    Dear Mr. President:

    Subject: “Academic Freedom” Bill

    “Our future depends on reaffirming America’s role as the world’s engine of scientific discovery and technological innovation. Our policies should be based on the best science available…[, and] only by ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda, making scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology,…will we harness the power of science to achieve our goals.” These were some of your words, Mr. President, when answering fourteen questions regarding science with the Scientific American magazine. You declared a way by which to achieve these goals and to reestablish the American people as leaders of the world: “An excellent education remains the clearest, surest route to the middle class. To compete with other countries we must strengthen STEM education. I called for a national effort to move American students from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math achievement.”

    These goals and efforts are being threatened. The latest threat, and most deceptive, comes by way of the “Academic Freedom” bills being presented to your state legislatures. Your directive to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy was “to ensure that our policies reflect what science tells us without distortion or manipulation.” The fifty bills, introduced in fifteen states, since the year 2004, are an attempt to distort science and to manipulate the science curriculum within our public schools.

    The methods of this distortion and manipulation have been evolving since the 1927 Tennessee court case of Scopes vs. State of Tennessee. The distortion and manipulation is specifically focused on the teaching of evolution in science classrooms. In the 1920’s, it was blatantly forbidden to include evolution in the curriculum and only the “Divine Creation of man” was allowed. In 1968, anti-evolution laws were ruled unconstitutional in the Epperson vs. Arkansas case. This ruling set the precedent that the separation of church and state applies not only to congress, not only to states, but also to the curriculum of public schools. The facts of evolution became part of the curriculum and this upset some parents. The teaching of evolution was argued to be a violation of their First Amendment right to free exercise of religion. The 1981 ruling by the Sacramento Supreme Court, in the Seagraves vs. State of California case, determined teaching evolution does not violate anyone’s First Amendment rights.

    With anti-evolution laws deemed unconstitutional and evolution constitutional, the distortion of science and manipulation of curriculum evolved further. The opponents of evolution would allow it to be taught as long as “balanced treatment” was given to creationism. Although, creationism was referred to as “creation-science” in order to place it on par with the science of evolution. Two court cases ruled these balanced treatment acts as unconstitutional: the 1982 McLean vs. Arkansas Board of Education case on a local level, and the 1987 Edwards vs. Aguillard case on a federal level.

    The federal ruling in 1987 established “creationism” and “creation-science” as unconstitutional. This forced the opponents of evolution to once again change tactics. All references to God, to creationism, to creation-science, or to the Bible were removed and the distortions and manipulations re-emerged as “Intelligent Design.” This manipulation is seen most vividly in drafts of a prominent textbook used by anti-evolution proponents, Of Pandas and People. A 1987 draft before the Edwards vs. Aguillard decision contained approximately 300 references to “creation” and “creationists,” while at the same time approximately 120 references to “design” and “intelligent design.” A 1987 draft after the decision contained less than ten references to “creation” and “creationists,” and approximately 365 references to “design” and “intelligent design.” In one case, the word “creationists” was changed to “cdesign proponentsists” with “design proponents” inserted into the middle of “creationists.” This is direct, documented evidence of creationism being relabeled as intelligent design. By the 1993 second edition, “creation” and “creationists” were completely excised from the text.

    Intelligent design was offered as an alternative scientific theory to evolution and brought about the next evolution of distortion and manipulation: disclaimers. Disclaimers were read out loud before biology classes, or they were printed on stickers and placed inside any science textbook that contained evolution. The disclaimers marginalized evolution, saying it was “a theory, not a fact,” or that “gaps in the Theory exist for which there are no evidence.” In Dover, Pennsylvania, Of Pandas and People was offered as a resource to learn about the alternative to evolution: intelligent design. The 2005 case of Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District was the first time intelligent design being taught in science classrooms of public schools was challenged. The court ruled that intelligent design was not science and was in violation of the Establishment Clause.

    The opponents to evolution could no longer blatantly outlaw evolution curriculum, could no longer claim teaching it violated their rights, could no longer demand balanced treatment, could no longer marginalize evolution, and could no longer disguise creationism as intelligent design in the science classrooms of public schools. This brings us to the latest tactic to threaten your goals and efforts: the “Academic Freedom” bill. These bills are introduced as a means to protect teachers’ jobs and students’ beliefs while investigating the “scientific strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific theories.” Only two of the fifty bills introduced since 2004 have become law. The success of these two bills can be attributed to a model for language to be used that was developed by the Discovery Institute in February of 2008. These bills are deceptive: “intended to deceive”, deceive: “to make (a person) believe what is not true; to mislead; to cause to err; to impose on; to delude; to cheat.” The goals of the Discovery Institute are not to investigate scientific strengths and weaknesses. Their goals are to “defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies. To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.” The only Program Advisor listed on the current Discovery Institute website is Phillip E. Johnson.

    Mr. Johnson is a Berkeley law professor and a leader in the intelligent design movement. He developed “The Wedge Strategy” which has been adopted by the Discovery Institute. The function of the “wedge” is to “drive a wedge in the wall of church-state separation,” and “to convince people that Darwinism is inherently atheistic, thus shifting the debate from creationism vs. evolution to the existence of God vs. the non-existence of God. From there people are introduced to ‘the truth’ of the Bible and then ‘the question of sin’ and finally ‘introduced to Jesus.’” The deception of the “Academic Freedom” bill continues when they state, “an important purpose of science education is to inform students about scientific evidence and to help students develop critical thinking skills necessary to become intelligent, productive, and scientifically informed citizens.” Mr. Johnson has said, “this isn’t really, and never has been a debate about science. It’s about religion and philosophy. Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit so that we can get the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools” – the epitome of distortion and manipulation.

    Basing the policies of this nation on the best science available is a commendable action. Intelligent design, deceptively promoted within “Academic Freedom” bills, is a distortion of science in order to manipulate school science curricula to conceal a political, ideological agenda. In your 2011 State of the Union Address, you said, “maintaining our leadership in research and technology is crucial to America’s success. But if we want to win the future – if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas – then we also have to win the race to educate our kids.” We must educate our kids to solve the problems of the future; problems we don’t know yet exist.

    In order to “out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world[;]” “to ensure that our policies reflect what science tells us without distortion or manipulation,” it would be best for this country to enact federal legislation to repeal the two “Academic Freedom” bills and to deem unconstitutional any future bills employing deceptive tactics to distort and manipulate the education of our children.

    Mr. President, your administration has boldly tackled matters of the heart with DADT, DOMA, and your personal stance on same-sex marriage. It is now time to boldly tackle matters of the mind. I appreciate your time in considering my concerns.

    Respectfully,

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