Texas charter schools teaching creationism

Spread the love

The following is from: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/01/creationism_in_texas_public

When public-school students enrolled in Texas’ largest charter program open their biology workbooks, they will read that the fossil record is “sketchy.” That evolution is “dogma” and an “unproved theory” with no experimental basis. They will be told that leading scientists dispute the mechanisms of evolution and the age of the Earth. These are all lies.

The more than 17,000 students in the Responsive Education Solutions charter system will learn in their history classes that some residents of the Philippines were “pagans in various levels of civilization.” They’ll read in a history textbook that feminism forced women to turn to the government as a “surrogate husband.”

Responsive Ed has a secular veneer and is funded by public money, but it has been connected from its inception to the creationist movement and to far-right fundamentalists who seek to undermine the separation of church and state.

Infiltrating and subverting the charter-school movement has allowed Responsive Ed to carry out its religious agenda—and it is succeeding. Operating more than 65 campuses in Texas, Arkansas, and Indiana, Responsive Ed receives more than $82 million in taxpayer money annually, and it is expanding, with 20 more Texas campuses opening in 2014.

Eduhonesty: Apparently, the opening line of the workbook section declares, “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.”

I’m not sure how I feel about this. Charter schools are private schools for all intents and purposes. It’s not like they are sneaking an unfamiliar theological view into the books, hoodwinking parents who don’t understand the educational agenda they bought into. Opponents will naturally argue that these schools should not be allowed to use taxpayer funds since not all taxpayers support this agenda. Well, I don’t support the war in Iraq but no one gives me a choice about contributing my tax dollars. I’d argue that the Founders’ intent with separation of church and state was to prevent the government from mandating that people follow one religion. Still, fuzzy science would seem to make for substandard schooling. The fossil record may have gaps, but we certainly have no shortage of fossils.

That said, I’d like to make the observation that protesting these schools because they have an agenda is hypocritical. Public schools certainly have an agenda. The large majority of teachers are liberal democrats and many are fiercely political. Union membership and liberal arts educations tend to steer people that direction.

I may alienate a few readers here, but personally I’d rather get rid of political correctness than Creationism. Education should promote free discussion and inquiring minds in my view. In that regard, the doctrine of political correctness seems every bit as intent as Creationism in shutting down the views of opponents, especially those who might hold conservative or anti-union viewpoints. I’d say let the people in Texas have their money.