A horror story for believers in quality public education is unfolding in Louisiana — and ALEC allies and other fellow travelers are spoiling to do the same thing in Arkansas. To the menu of reform in Louisiana, the extremist Republicans (to be redundant) have added private school vouchers to the redirection of millions to unproven and failing charter schools. Church schools teaching religion as biology are among the recipients.
Thousands of children in the southern state will receive publicly-funded vouchers for the next school year to attend private schools where Scotland’s most famous mythological beast will be taught as a real living creature.
These private schools follow a fundamentalist curriculum including the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) programme to teach controversial religious beliefs aimed at disproving evolution and proving creationism.
One tenet has it that if it can be proved that dinosaurs walked the earth at the same time as man then Darwinism is fatally flawed.
Critics have damned the content of the course books, calling them “bizarre” and accusing them of promoting radical religious and political ideologies.
The textbooks in the series are alleged to teach young earth creationism; are hostile towards other religions and other sectors of Christianity, including Roman Catholicism; and present a biased version of history that is often factually incorrect.
One ACE textbook – Biology 1099, Accelerated Christian Education Inc – reads: “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.”
Another claim taught is that a Japanese whaling boat once caught a dinosaur. It’s unclear if the movie Godzilla was the inspiration for this lesson.