Nel's New Day

August 18, 2012

Louisiana Uses Taxpayer Money to Promote Ignorance

Many states pay religious schools with tax-payer money, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legitimizes the practice, but nowhere is the practice so rampant as in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s Louisiana since he signed the new law promoting this.

Now families in Louisiana earning up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level (currently $23,000 for a family of four) and whose children attend a “failing” public school can attend private schools using public dollars. A second bill gives tax-payers a 100-percent tax credit for money donated to groups providing vouchers for tuition at religious and other private schools. Jindal is a very religious man as shown by the fact that he exorcised a friend in college when she started acting “strange”—maybe because she was being treated for cancer.

What are the Louisiana youth learning from the tens of millions of dollars that the state gives these 119 private schools, all except one affiliated with Christianity? College sophomore Zack Kopplin did a little research and found that at least 19 of these schools, ones that are collecting almost $4 million in tax-payer money, teach or promote creationism. Many of the Christian schools use Pensacola-based A Beka Book curriculum or textbooks from Bob Jones University Press that include such “scientific” information as the existence of the Loch Ness Monster.

Researcher Rachel Tabachnick and writer Thomas Vinciguerra have examined the curriculum and textbooks and discovered some of these gems of “education”:

Dinosaurs and humans probably lived side-by-side at the same time—Life Science, Third ed., Bob Jones University Press, 2007

Dragons are real because dinosaur skulls had special chemical-producing glands that may have produced fire and smoke— Life Science, Third ed., Bob Jones University Press, 2007

The purpose of the Trail of Tears, during which over 4,000 Native Americans died on the forced trek to displace them from their homes, was for God “to bring many Indians to Christ.”—America: Land That I Love, Teacher ed., A Beka Books, 1994

Africa needs religion;only about ten percent of Africans can read and write. In some areas the mission schools have been shut down by Communists who have taken over the government.”—Old World History and Geography in Christian Perspective, Third ed., A Beka Book

“The majority of slave holders treated their slaves well.”—United States History for Christian Schools, Second ed., Bob Jones University Press, 1991

“[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. Klan targets were bootleggers, wife-beaters, and immoral movies. In some communities it achieved a certain respectability as it worked with politicians.”—United States History for Christian Schools, Second ed., Bob Jones University Press, 1991

The Great Depression of the 1930s was not as serious as people might think: “perhaps the best known work of propaganda to come from the Depression was John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath…. Other forms of propaganda included rumors of mortgage foreclosures, mass evictions, and hunger riots and exaggerated statistics representing the number of unemployed and homeless people in America.”—United States History: Heritage of Freedom, Second ed., A Beka Book, 1996

The U.S. Supreme Court made fetuses into slaves: “the Burger Court held that an unborn child was … the ‘property’ of the mother (much like slaves were considered property in the 1857 case of Dred Scott v. Sandford).”—American Government in Christian Perspective, Second ed., A Beka Book, 1997

Satan is the cause of Communism: “Satan hates the family and has hurled his venom against it in the form of Communism.”—American Government in Christian Perspective, Second ed., A Beka Book, 1997

Mark Twain and Emily Dickinson are not worth studying as literature: “[Mark] Twain’s outlook was both self-centered and ultimately hopeless…. Twain’s skepticism was clearly not the honest questioning of a seeker of truth but the deliberate defiance of a confessed rebel…. Several of [Emily Dickinson’s] poems show a presumptuous attitude concerning her eternal destiny and a veiled disrespect for authority in general. Throughout her life she viewed salvation as a gamble, not a certainty. Although she did view the Bible as a source of poetic inspiration, she never accepted it as an inerrant guide to life.”—Elements of Literature for Christian Schools, Bob Jones University, 2001

Students should not study abstract math: “unlike the ‘modern math’ theorists, who believe that mathematics is a creation of man and thus arbitrary and relative, A Beka Book teaches that the laws of mathematics are a creation of God and thus absolute…A Beka Book provides attractive, legible, and workable traditional mathematics texts that are not burdened with modern theories such as set theory.”—ABeka.com

Gay people “have no more claims to special rights than child molesters or rapists.”—Teacher’s Resource Guide to Current Events for Christian Schools, 1998-1999, Bob Jones University Press, 1998

“Global environmentalists have said and written enough to leave no doubt that their goal is to destroy the prosperous economies of the world’s richest nations.”—Economics: Work and Prosperity in Christian Perspective, Second ed., A Beka Books, 1999

Globalization is a precursor to rapture: “but instead of this world unification ushering in an age of prosperity and peace, as most globalists believe it will, it will be a time of unimaginable human suffering as recorded in God’s Word. The Anti-christ will tightly regulate who may buy and sell.”—Economics: Work and Prosperity in Christian Perspective, Second ed., A Beka Books, 1999

The Christian legislators of Louisiana, led by Gov. Jindal, may soon discover that tax-payer money providing the education promoting these myths may also pay for beliefs that they don’t like. One Muslim school has been rejected by the legislature, but this practice may not continue to be successful.

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education have oversight over the curricula in private parochial schools that accept state vouchers. In essence, they can tell private religious schools that they cannot teach creationism, a place where church and state conflict, something that the First Amendment attempted to avoid.

Valerie Hodges, a legislator who voted in favor of the law, is now horrified to discover that any religious school fits the law, especially because she believes that the state has 1,000 Muslim schools. If more legislators develop the same horror that Louisiana’s children might be taught in religious schools outside the Christian belief, the law may not last long. Meanwhile there is a hearing in October to determine the constitutionality of the state’s new law.

The problem of providing tax-payer money to religious schools is not new. A year ago a study showing that 200,000 young people in 12 states and the District of Columbia were receiving tax-payer tuition, many of them learning intolerance and lies. In addition to being virulently anti-abortion and anti-gay, the textbooks and curriculum teach that government safety nets, regulation, minimum wage, and progressive taxes are described as contrary to the Bible.

The textbooks in private schools demonstrate hostility not only toward other religions, including Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, and traditional African and Native American religions but also toward other Christians, including non-evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics. The A Beka civics text states, “God’s original purpose for government was to punish the evil and reward the good.” The same text describes the ideal form of government. “All governments are ordained by God, but none compare to government by God, theocracy.”

The tragedy of sending young people to private schools because of the assumed failure of public schools is that students do worse with the voucher system. In the oldest voucher system program, Milwaukee’s School Choice Program, students with vouchers perform below the level of public school students. Cleveland shows similar results to Milwaukee’s students. In fact, in some private voucher schools less than 20% of students reach basic proficiency levels in reading and math.

Even public schools in Louisiana trample on the rights of students. Delhi Charter School required all female students who are believed to be pregnant to take a pregnancy test. Those who are pregnant or refuse are forced to be home schooled. After the ACLU stepped in, the school said they would change their policy but did not specify what the new one would be. Expelling pregnant girls has been illegal since the passage of Title IX in the early 1970s, but school officials said they were not aware that they were breaking the law with this policy.

Many people in Louisiana suffer from ignorance. Hodges, who says she wants children to be taught the religion of the founding fathers, is ignorant of the fact that founding fathers were largely Deists, not Christians. Thomas Jefferson knew that democracy depends on a well-educated populace able to reason and publicly debate. Today’s conservatives consider education to be dangerous because it teaches critical thinking and could keep the conservatives from taking over the country. They benefit from intolerance and ignorance.

2 Comments »

  1. One more — the main — for encouraging the south to finish the Civil War and secede. The south is diligently creating a country of morons. All they will do, if allowed, will drag the whole country with it. Let the smart southerners leave and put a fence up behind them.

    Like

    Comment by gkparker — August 18, 2012 @ 9:24 PM | Reply

  2. So disheartening to know Americans are allowing their children to be as brainwashed as they are.

    Like

    Comment by lynchly — August 18, 2012 @ 9:19 PM | Reply


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