Blue Ridge Christian Academy, the School That Gave Fourth Graders a Creationism Quiz, Has Closed Down

Remember the infamous fourth grade “science” quiz that was circulating online?

It was later discovered to be a real quiz given at Blue Ridge Christian Academy.

The media attention resulting from that “outing” seemed to do wonders for them. Answers in Genesis’ Ken Ham encouraged his followers to donate money to the school, and they received donations “ranging in amounts from $1 – $1000.”

Administrator Diana Baker later said:

“It is unmistakable that our culture greatly needs well-equipped warriors for Christ. Even though the attack on the school was meant to be harmful, God has used it to provide affirmation regarding the importance of our work. We are hopeful that the recent unexpected interest in our school and in Christian Education will provide support for a future for BRCA.

Turns out God isn’t a big fan of their school. While they ended up raising about $15,000, it was a long way from the $200,000 or so that they needed to keep the place open.

This month, Blue Ridge Christian Academy announced that they would be closed for the school year.

BRCA will not be open for the 2013-2014 school year. The Board is researching options for future funding and re-organization.

The students may not know it, but this is — dare I say it — a godsend. They’ll hopefully find a way to get an education — a real education — from people who understand and respect how science really works instead of from those who get their knowledge from Ken Ham’s video series. Or, more likely, they’ll be homeschooled… but could it really get much worse?

(Thanks to @embreeology for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Greg G.

    Let’s hope the students’ fifth grade science is an improvement on their fourth grade science.

  • http://be.net/mattcoddington matt

    lol dumbasses

  • WallofSleep

    “It is unmistakable that our culture greatly needs well-equipped warriors for Christ…”

    … to stop acting like anti-American fuck-sticks and start appreciating our Constitution and what it stands for. Ya know, like real patriots.

    • koseighty

      It always surprises me that the people who claim to be defending Our Constitution always seem to be arguing for the Articles of Confederation. But hey, they’re Real Patriots™ and I’m just a schmo.

      • Icono

        No, they like to protect the Bill of Rights. But only when it applies to them. You? Nah, you can go fuck yourself. There’s only one right “other” people have, the right to be oppressed.

        • UWIR

          It’s freedom of religious fanatics, not freedom from religious fanatics.

          • rtanen

            Replace of with for.

          • Morri

            No, it’s both. Do you really think the Founders meant that religious twatwaffles had the right to oppress us all? Read their documents and letters – they most assuredly did NOT. They were also dead set against churches receiving tax money, special status, or tax exemptions. They must be rolling in their graves.

            • Guest

              Your sarcasm meter may need recalibration.

          • Michaela Samuels

            Governor Perry? Is that you?

      • DoubleDogDiogenes

        Or the constitution of the Confederacy!

    • Hatchetmaniac

      PRIVATE school? Constitution? No issues there.

      Private SCHOOL? Creationism? But issues there.

  • A3Kr0n

    If they had been in Wisconsin they could have had the taxpayers keep them open through school vouchers.

  • Timmah

    Looks like the creationist school *Puts on sunglasses* fell victim to natural selection. *YEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAH*

    • Gus

      Best use of the CSI Miami meme I’ve seen.

    • TheTundraTerror

      How do you know it was natural selection? “were you there?”

      • Bakaiya

        Yeah, who knows, it might have been god’s will!

    • David Norbot

      MAN! I thought I was cool when I posted a similar response on Twitter. Looks like you beat me to it….:::hands head in shame:::

  • Rain

    But Poes won’t have anything to set their standards by.

  • Dal Bryn

    Hopefully the Christian school I was sent too is the next one to close.

  • Just Me

    One down…
    Hopefully their innocent victims will end up in a public school where they’ll have a better shot at a reality-based education. Thanks for sharing this fantastic news! :)

  • Silent Service

    Yes, it could get much worse. Some home schooling may produce great students, but other home schooling produces abused kids that can barely read. We need more uneducated and illitereate fundamentalist Christians like we need a brick to the head.

    • Sharon Marks

      Some public schools produce abused kids that can barely read too.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        And your point is what, precisely? That we can’t talk about homeschooling’s issues without an obligatory nod to the fact that, yes, public schools also require significant work? That we know public schools have issues because of oversight, which is precisely what homeschooling lacks?

        • Sharon Marks

          What was your point in dragging homeschooling into a post about a private school? Seems you only wanted a chance to drag it through the mud.

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            Silent Service mentioned homeschooling originally, not I. You then spouted off about public schools. I merely rejected that (implied) argument.

            • Anna

              People like this don’t care. Whenever anyone points out problems with homeschooling, they feel the need to counter that by saying horrible things about public schools. Many of them see public education (and the government as a whole) as the enemy.This is precisely why there are so many conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists fighting government regulations and oversight.

              • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                I know. I am an active participant whenever this comes up on Love, Joy, Feminism too :) . I just didn’t really want to derail this particular thread like this, though it seems too late now.

                This thread should be celebratory! A terrible school has closed down, and that means the children have a chance for a real education now. If they get homeschooled, that chance goes unrealized, sadly. But that’s still not a good reason to not shut down unaccredited Christian “schools”.

          • Silent Service

            Closing out religious schools will cause many of the most ardent fundamentalists to make a decision between public schools and home schooling. Some of those children that are home schooled will disappear into the home schooling world where society will forget about them. Not all will be abused, but too many will; and without regular contact with the education system the chance that such abuse will be discovered in a reasonable time drops drastically. At the same time some students will excel in home schooling but more with fail to get a fully rounded education as parents teach based on religious belief and not on facts. Private religious schools aren’t a thrilling idea due to indoctrination, but they are far better than kids being home schooled by parents that abuse their kids in isolation and kids that get warped educations that cripple their potential for life with god-soaked myths and false Christian America histories. Hemant said about such students being home schooled, “Or, more likely, they’ll be homeschooled… but could it really get much worse?” Yes. Yes it could.

          • DoubleDogDiogenes

            Why did you drag public schools and the evil “tyrannical” gibberment into a post involving a failed institution that served ignorance and superstition in place of real science? Seems you only wanted a chance to drag our democrat elected government in the mud! Straining at gnats and swallowing camel becomes you. By the way, like the orange prison jump suit! When do you get out?

            • Sharon Marks

              I didn’t drag public schools into it. I offered a rebuttal to you ignorant comment about hoomeschooling. Prison jumpsuit? LOL you are as blind as you are stupid.

      • Ward

        Former homeschooler here. While both forms of education can produce horror stories, there is a crucial difference between them–there is little accountability in homeschooling. Many states have virtually no requirements when it comes to the standards parents must meet with home education. A public school may produce a poor student, but it is much, much harder for an abusive parent to hide their abuse if their child is exposed to people outside the home on a daily basis. It’s also much harder to indoctrinate a child, since they will be talking to and interacting with kids and adults with a variety of opinions. When homeschooling is done right it can have great results; just as good as any public or private school. Done wrong, and it is a never-ending nightmare for the child, with no escape or outlet.

        I say this having had a relatively good experience with homeschooling growing up. I got lucky because in the end my parents cared more about a good education than about making me belief certain things. I know a lot of other homeschoolers, now grown, who were not as fortunate. They are just starting to pick up the pieces after years of emotional and physical abuse.

        Sorry for the extended reply, but this is an issue that causes me great sorrow and outrage. Homeschooling is fine, but it needs to be properly regulated and monitored. What should have been an inclusive, admirable alternative to public or private school got hijacked by right-wing Christians within the past 20-30 years and turned into a brainwashing tool. The civil authorities who should have prevented it did nothing, and our society is reaping the consequences.

        • Sharon Marks

          You speak as if your children belong to the government by default and that parents can only rights if proven they can do better than the government. The government should never had default say-so over what is best for someone.

          • cipher

            Over basic rights such as education, safety, health care, etc? Yeah, it should – especially as millions of people in this country appear to be morons.

            • Sharon Marks

              They are morons because they expect the nanny state to take care of them. How can you expect anyone to learn to be independent if they are never given independence? If you want the government in charge of your life, move to a socialist country.

              • cipher

                I think it would be easier for you and your friends to move to an isolated area and set up your own little xenophobic republic.

                • Spuddie

                  But they will probably just live off welfare checks to support it. The best places for being isolated are usually the worst for “living off the land”. All the good land and resources have already been taken.

                • cipher

                  I was kinda thinking of northern Canada.

                • Spuddie

                  Why punish the Canadians like that? What have they ever done to us?

                • cipher

                  ;-)

                • Donald

                  They have listened to our government that’s what.

                • Spuddie

                  But the Canadians have given us so much:
                  Rush
                  Labatts & Molson
                  Back bacon
                  Tim HortonsComedians
                  Hockey players
                  Represented for North America vs. the Nazis from 1939 to 1941.

                • Hatchetmaniac

                  Uncalled for.

                • cipher

                  Apparently, everyone else here would disagree with you.

                • Hatchetmaniac

                  Good taste has never been a popularity issue. Have a little class.

                • cipher

                  Or you could give up being a tone troll.

                • Hatchetmaniac

                  Is that what they’re calling polite people these days? Ineresting.

                • cipher

                  You’re nothing more than a pompous ass. Seriously, go fuck yourself – and don’t address me again..

                • Hatchetmaniac

                  Nice one, Cipher. Don’t worry, I won’t bother you again. I know that you eighth graders have lots of homework these days.

                • 3lemenope

                  Meh. Not everyone. I’m not, like, offended or anything, and I don’t think it’s an arch violation of good taste, but it does seem a bit uncalled for.

                • cipher

                  Seriously? Now, a week later, you’re going to take the side of a concern troll and a Tea Party hag against me? FUCK YOU, 3lemenope. Really, just fuck you.

                  I don’t need this aggravation, and I have better things to do with my time. I’m done with this blog.

                • 3lemenope

                  Whoa, dude. I just caught the end of it with Hatchetmaniac’s contribution to this part of the thread, which happened a few minutes before mine did.

                  And, yeah, you went and spoke for everyone, I’m a member of everyone, and you didn’t speak for me. So I mentioned it. If that causes you to blow a gasket, maybe reassess?

                • cipher

                  Drop dead. Literally.

                • 3lemenope

                  Magical thinking. Tsk.

                • cipher

                  You really are a worthless piece of garbage. You have neither the brains nor the presence of mind to understand why what you did was reprehensible. You’re an absolute disgrace as a human being.

                • 3lemenope

                  Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

                  [backs away slowly]

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Well, that escalated quickly.

              • skinnercitycyclist

                Sharon, the community (in your word, the “government”) steps in when parents fail. No one has ever suggested the default for parenting is parenting by the state. It is clearly the cultural, legal, philosophical, whatever norm you care to name standard in this country for parents to raise their children.

                But the community has an interest. An interest in that child getting an education so that they are a competent citizen and able to provide for their own needs and wants in life. An interest in that child not being abused in any way by their default caregivers, the parents. An interest in seeing that when a kid gets to school for their free, appropriate public education, they will not be stymied by an empty belly (hence free breakfast/lunch programs)

                Yes, parents have and always will have primary responsibility for their children. But the community laso has an interest.

                • Sharon Marks

                  I am not talking about the community, I am talking about the government. I’m sorry that you do not understand the difference.

                • Spuddie

                  All politics are local.

                  Your community is also your government. It governs people besides yourself in the same locality.

                  Your community is part of a state which is also your government, they govern communities besides yours.

                  Your state is part of a nation, which is also your government, that governs states besides yours.

              • Denis F

                Unfortunately a considerable number of parents do NOT know what is best for their kids – just look at the number who refuse to vaccinate.

                Independence for the individual – OK, but when it damages another human being it is time for the state to tell a parent – NO you dont know best, and maybe the parent should also be back in school.

                • Sharon Marks

                  Again, I am not talking about not allowing stepping in if there is a problem. I am talking about those who want parents to earn the right to educate their children outside of the governments control. The control should never go to the government by default.

              • Ward

                Providing infrastructure and stability is not “nannying.” Enforcing basic standards is not “socialism.” It baffles me how the same people who would want rigorous accountability in an area like elections, or medical credentials, drop all expectations in something as critical as education.

                I facepalm over my fellow man’s foibles just as much as anyone, but keep in mind who these “morons” are. They’re your neighbors, your fellow citizens. We should want to help them achieve more, and a good education is one of the best ways to do that. That doesn’t just happen; it takes time, effort, and money. I don’t care how I teach a man to fish, just as long as I teach him right.

          • baal

            I care if my neighbor’s kids are abused or mal-adjusted and uneducated. It has implications for crime rates, teen pregnancy rates and pretty much every other social indicator. Turns out that having a few laws on how kids are treated (including compulsory education) is a huge benefit ot society as a whole. Your views, if widely implemented, would lead to a host of social ills. And no, being more godly or christian wouldn’t solve the issue the same way that secular governance does.

            • Sharon Marks

              There are laws on how children are treated. As said before the default should not be government involvement. ROFLMAO…Of course you assume that I am Christian because I support homeschooling. It wouldn’t fit you false stereo-types for someone to be a secular homeschooler.

              • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                How do you intend to enforce those laws on homeschooled children and homeschooling parents?

              • islandbrewer

                I actually know several secular homeschoolers. Most of them know that”stereotype” is just one word.

          • RobMcCune

            Children don’t belong to anyone, they have their own needs that trump the “property rights” of parents.

          • Ward

            You, and many like you, speak as if children “belong” to their parents. It is time to stop using this terminology either way. Children are human beings, just like the rest of us, and they have rights like the rest of us. Just because they need things like education, food, and shelter provided to them by adults does not make them property. They have a voice too.

            • Sharon Marks

              You and many like you speak as if children belong to the government.

              • Ward

                It seems you have the same problem as DisentAgain. You are only reading what you want to read, or ignore what is being written entirely. We’ve been arguing that children are not owned by anyone, whether it’s parents, religious institutions, or the government. A good education is about what benefits the child and prepares them best for life. Not about what anyone else wants. Laws need to be in accordance with this principle.

                No one cares that you and DisentAgain are “secular” homeschoolers either, because no one is taking issue with that. And if the two of you are so offended by the bad reputation religious homeschooling families have given the movement, don’t get mad at the people pointing out that this is a problem. Work to make the situation better. Talk to anyone who will listen about these issues and what can be done about them, just as the rest of us are trying to do here. If you are really a secular homeschooler who cares only for providing a good education for your kids, then the people in this thread are not your enemies, and your bizarre insistence that we are is only helping our mutual opponents.

        • DisentAgain

          Again – There is no correlation between secular homeschooling and child abuse. Your post is a scare tactic. There is no evidence to support that position as a real concern.

          To make our society better, we should want our children taught by smart, capable adults – regardless of the organization, or lack there of.

          • RobMcCune

            To say that homeschooling sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t is a scare tactic? I agree that children should be taught by smart capable adults, hence the need for standards in homeschooling, to ensure that very thing.

            • DisentAgain

              To imply a correlation between homeschooling and abuse is a scare tactic.

              • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                Except when the correlation is fairly well documented, as much as anything with homeschooling is. Then it becomes a societal problem we need to deal with somehow.

                It’s not a scare tactic when it’s true.

                • DisentAgain

                  I’d agree – if that were remotely true. It’s not true. There is no more correlation between homeschool and abuse than there is between religious belief and abuse. Add to that the significant data which suggests that homeschoolers perform better academically and socially than public school kids and your argument vaporizes. Not all homeschoolers are religious nutjobs who beat their kids. Secular homeschooling is an important and effective movement in education, and reckless gibberish like this is harmful to that movement.

                • RobMcCune

                  The actual reckless gibberish is overzealous advocacy that that denies serious problems to the detriment of children.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Actually, there is no significant data that homeschoolers perform better academically or socially. There is some data suggesting that when parents who are willing to test their children, those children perform better than average public school children, but when corrected for socio-economic status, race, and all the other factors that feed into test scores, do no better. Since we only test the highest-performing homeschoolers, what the data actually suggests is parents are no better, and often worse, at teaching their kids than public schools are. Remember that parents who are quite sure their children will fail just don’t test them.

                  Homeschooling and private schools should just be banned. They are an expression of the “I got mine, fuck everyone else” mentality that is tearing apart our social fabric. Not everyone can homeschool, and many homeschooling parents (yes, including secular ones) deliberately undermine public schooling by trying to starve it of funds or send their kids to sports or extra-curriculars without paying for it. Make everyone buy in. Fixing our public school system is not going to be easy, but it is doable. However, it’s much more possible if everyone has an interest in doing so, instead of a bunch of people having an express interest in not doing so.

                  As to the original point, religious homeschoolers are often quite abusive, and they are not a small percentage of homeschooling families. Since religiosity and abuse are correlated, and homeschooling and religiosity are correlated, I’m afraid you must admit that abuse and homeschooling are also correlated.

                • Ward

                  Here I have to disagree with you a little. Homeschooling does not need to be banned, because the issue is not the method. It’s the motivation. A parent who is really committed to providing their child with the best possible education can be a powerful force for such through homeschooling. There are numerous advantages it can afford as well–greater flexibility in curriculum, one-on-one instruction, lower costs, etc. The key, again, is accountability to ensure these benefits.

                  You’re right that it should not be seen as a way to choke out public education though. A good society should require its members to contribute to the education of all, whether it’s your own kids or not, because those kids are going to be tomorrow’s legislators, cops, judges, doctors, etc. We will all be receiving services from them in some form or another, someday. I don’t know how this could be best accomplished in terms of how much or how little a homeschooling family should be taxed for public education. It’s not an insurmountable problem though, and as long as the overall goal is the academic betterment of the children, there is no reason public schooling and homeschooling need to be at odds.

                • Sharon Marks

                  The correlation is not “fairly well documented”. I will reply with links to actual statistics Tuesday when I am back at my computer.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Please make sure they’re from properly peer-reviewed sources! Anything from self-publishers or the HSLDA is automatically suspect.

                • Ward

                  YES. The problem with “homeschool statistics” right now is that the movement has become so insular and reclusive. Attempts to objectively track data or regulate standards are always seen as a government attack, no matter how reasonable or necessary. If you want to talk scare tactics, just read anything published by HSLDA. To them, whatever detracts from total parental control is practically satanic in origin.

                  If homeschooling is to ever become more than an extension of evangelical propaganda, then it must promote objective documentation and standardization. By default, this will require transparency and accountability. Homeschoolers should welcome this for the same reason that businesses welcome BBB ratings, or scientists seek out peer review.

              • RobMcCune

                Where did he imply a statistical correlation? There are incidents of homeschooling creating an abusive environment and/or failing to educate children. If you want to effectively advocate for homeschooling you shouldn’t whitewash it.

          • Ward

            In Virginia, the only legal requirement parents must make to homeschool is a declaration that they are removing their child from public/private school for “religious reasons.” That’s it. No follow up, not a single test, not even a curriculum plan. There are currently about 7000 Virginian children whose parents have done so.

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/students-home-schooling-highlights-debate-over-va-religious-exemption-law/2013/07/28/ee2dbb1a-efbc-11e2-bed3-b9b6fe264871_story.html

            You’re damn right I’m scared. I’m scared for them. And you should be too.

            “Laws” (if you can even call them that) like this are common when it comes to homeschooling. Maybe 7000 doesn’t sound like a big deal to you, but that’s 7000 kids whose entire academic world will be limited to things like church sermons, or “answers in genesis” videos. Whether you are religious or secular, this is not an education.

            What scares me most are people like you who yawn in the face of such tragedy, and wave away concerns as so much “fear mongering.”

            Or perhaps, as some others below have pointed out, you simply suffer from poor reading comprehension. My post clearly focuses on religiously motivated homeschooling, because this has become the dominant demographic within the issue. I also clearly stated that homeschooling, as a method, is fine. It just needs to have standards and accountability, like everything else worth caring about in our society. As I said before, homeschooling done by parents whose goal is the child’s education = good. Homeschooling done by parents who want to indoctrinate, control, and abuse = bad, and the current set up we have lets them mostly get away with it. The correlation is not between homeschooling and abuse, but between abusive parents who use homeschooling and abuse.

            Abuse is also more than just physical, but this post is probably long enough as it is without getting into that.

      • Anna

        But at least public schools have oversight, and teachers are mandatory reporters for abuse. This is exactly why many fundamentalist Christians fight so hard against government regulations or testing. They think they should be able to do anything they want to their kids, and the state should have nothing to say about it.

        • DisentAgain

          This is spurious logic which implies that the oversight is curative, functional, and that the problem of abuse is relevant to the discussion.

          Secular home schooling is just as valid as public schooling, and arguably *more effective*, depending on the studies you credit. Make the distinction between a religion based home schooling, and secular home schooling and you might have a case.

          Homeschooling is not harmful inherently.

          • Spuddie

            Homeschooling to indoctrinate children into accepting religious fundamentalist beliefs without critical thinking is inherently harmful.

            Not everyone does this, but it is a major motivating factor for many.

          • Anna

            You’re arguing against a strawman. No one is saying that homeschooling is inherently harmful.

            Abuse is relevant to the discussion since HSLDA and similar organizations are paranoid about government officials, largely because their form of religion promotes extreme forms of corporal punishment. If a child is homeschooled, there is no chance for a teacher, social worker, or others outside the subculture to notice that something is wrong.

            As for more effective, since there’s an utter lack of government oversight and only self-selected studies touting the success of homeschooled students, we have no idea how most of them (secular or religious) are doing. And the fundamentalist Christians fight tooth and nail against any type of accountability, mandatory testing, etc.

            There are probably around two million homeschooled children in the United States today, but the simple fact is that no one knows for sure. Nearly a fourth of states don’t even require parents to notify anyone if they homeschool their children, much less offer any sort of verification that they are doing so. Nationwide surveys almost certainly underreport the total numbers, as many homeschoolers are strongly opposed to any kind of governmental oversight of their efforts, and therefore refuse to participate in any data-gathering attempts.

            We have impressive standardized test results volunteered by some homeschool families; plenty of others don’t report them or don’t administer them in the first place. Many homeschoolers will not respond to surveys, particularly government-sponsored ones. Most education regulations aimed at gathering performance data, such as the No Child Left Behind Act, apply only to public schools. Even in states where registration and/or testing is required, substantial numbers of homeschoolers (including several families I visited) simply ignore the regulations.

            http://www.randomhouse.com/book/203750/write-these-laws-on-your-children-by-robert-kunzman#excerpt

            • DisentAgain

              “If a child is homeschooled, there is no chance for a teacher, social worker, or others outside the subculture to notice that something is wrong.”

              Again, your implication is that public school solves this. It clearly does not. It also implies that oversight can not be injected into homeschooling – which, of course it can.

              Your basic premise is roughly “homeschooling enables abuse. Public schools have oversight which can stop abuse. Therefore, public schools are better than homeschooling.”

              I’m not arguing against a strawman, just a poorly formed blanket argument against homeschooling.

              How big is the homeschool/abuse problem? How many could be stopped by public school “oversight”? How successful is public school oversight at stopping abuse now? There is simply no evidence to support the position you are implying.

              • Anna

                Public school puts a child into contact with teachers and doctors (who must perform vaccinations and examinations) outside the subculture and thus improves the chances that an abused child will be noticed by adults in a position to help.

                I have no idea why you think I am against homeschooling. I have no argument with this form of education as long as it is properly regulated and carried out by qualified parents.

                • DisentAgain

                  Then make that distinction. My objection is to the blanket terminology, and reckless disregard for effective home schoolers. I object in hopes that a few will stop painting all home school efforts with the same brush.

                • Anna

                  What blanket terminology? I specifically mentioned fundamentalist Christians. I made that distinction in my very first comment and have done so repeatedly throughout the conversation. Fundamentalist (and other anti-government) homeschoolers are the ones who fight against oversight and testing. I have no problem with homeschoolers who support regulation and accountability.

                • DisentAgain

                  Great – then we have no argument. Except that you said this:

                  “If a child is homeschooled, there is no chance for a teacher, social worker, or others outside the subculture to notice that something is wrong.”

                  This implies *all* home school kids are equally at risk for abuse. It also implies that schools are effective at policing abuse… neither of these assumptions are reality.

                  If we agree – great. Then preface the home school bashing with “isolationist”, “fundamentalist”, “non-secular” or some other descriptor that has proof of harm associated with it.

                • Anna

                  You have apparently missed the two different times I wrote “outside the subculture.” I was referring to the fundamentalist subculture. You seem to want to twist my words to mean something they do not. I have been very clear that I am talking about fundamentalist homeschoolers and their campaigns to keep homeschooling free from government oversight or regulation.

                  By the way, you don’t have to be religious to be isolationist or anti-government. There are secular parents who fall into both of those categories. Since we have no comprehensive data on homeschoolers, we also have no idea how many of those people keep their children at home or how their children are faring academically.

                • DisentAgain

                  Again, that problem is solved by oversight, not public school. Demonizing homeschooling and lauding public school as a solution to problem that *might* exist is not a rational approach.

                • Anna

                  Once again, no one is demonizing homeschooling. I am not inventing problems. There is no accurate, comprehensive information on the number of children being homeschooled in the United States and how they are faring academically. Due to the efforts of fundamentalist (and other anti-government) parents, there is very little regulation or accountability, leaving children in isolated environments without protection.

                • DisentAgain

                  Great – we agree. There is not enough data. Specifically, there is no data to support the correlation of homeschooling and abuse. Wouldn’t your assumption that public school would mitigate the problem be pure conjecture at this point?

                • Anna

                  So now you agree with me that there is no accurate, comprehensive data on homeschooling? Well, that’s a start.

                  As for abuse, you seem to have invented a correlation in your head. I never said homeschoolers are more at risk for abuse, only that children in isolated environments are more in danger of abuse never being discovered. Extreme corporal punishment is a problem in the conservative evangelical and fundamentalist world as a whole. I see no reason to believe that children who are homeschooled suffer from it more than children who are sent to private Christian schools or even public schools. However, children who do come into contact with teachers and other secular authorities have more of a chance of the abuse being discovered.

              • Ward

                A child is educated only by their parents or siblings, and receives no significant or formative contact with anyone else. A child is educated in a group comprised of multiple families and teachers, all with different opinions, all of whom represent a chance or opportunity to check in on a child’s home welfare. Of the two situations, are you really going to tell me that one is not more attractive to someone who wants to isolate, indoctrinate, or abuse a child?

                DisentAgain, the only flawed logic and spurious arguments I’m seeing in this thread are yours. Pretty much every person you have accused of slandering homeschoolers has noted a distinction between the method of homeschooling itself and the need for oversight to prevent abuse. Also, why do you keep acting like we are talking about “secular” homeschoolers? Are you even reading our posts?

                • DisentAgain

                  Of course I’m reading your posts. That’s how I identified your irrational demonization of homeschooling. The problem you identify has nothing to do with home schooling and everything to do with bad parenting. Public school doesn’t eliminate bad parenting any more than it reduces child abuse. Your entire premise is based on the fluffy-headed assumption that public school can police abuse, and is therefore preferable to home schooling. I’m not advocating homeschooling, just opposed to your demonization of the practice, which is based on nothing of substance.

                • Ward

                  Now I know you’re a troll. “The problem you identify has nothing to do with home schooling and everything to do with bad parenting.” I said almost exactly this in my responses. Several others have as well.

                  Recognizing a problem is not demonization. Neither homeschooling or public schooling are perfect, but there are degrees of improvement that can be made in any system. No one here is arguing that public schools are some kind of paradise where nothing ever goes wrong. It’s just harder for abusers to hide their abuse for prolonged periods of time in a public environment. Will it be caught every time? Of course not. But how the hell does removing kids entirely from an environment like that, without substituting any kind of safeguards, help anything? The laws governing homeschooling right now don’t address the lack of corresponding oversight. If I’m a “fluffy-headed” idealist in favor of public schools, then you sir are just as dangerously naive about homeschooling. You dismiss our arguments because it’s just “bad parents” who are the problem. Just bad parents? Who do you think is in charge of kids when they are badly homeschooled? Who do you think benefits most from laws that require nothing from homeschool parents? Next you’ll be telling me we don’t need to address child sex abuse in churches anymore, because it’s just “bad priests” or “bad pastors” at fault. Political corruption? Just bad elected officials. Financial meltdown? Nothing more than a few greedy stockbrokers who got carried away. No deeper issues or problems in need of remedy here folks, move along! Stop demonizing!

                  This is not about making homeschooling go away. This is about making it better and closing the loopholes that make it attractive to abusers.

                  I spent most of my childhood homeschooling. I’ve seen the good and bad parts of it. Helping my fellow homeschoolers, and any kid who just wants to learn really, will be complicated enough without people like you throwing up roadblocks. Maybe I’ll never make much of a difference, but I’ve got to try. I will continue to argue and fight for greater scrutiny, oversight, and accountability when it comes to homeschooling.

                  Thanks for reminding me that there’s still a lot of work to be done.

                • DisentAgain

                  Thanks for the ad hominem. It helps me understand the irrational position you are coming from.

                  I’m simply disputing your position that child abuse and home schooling are correlated – or that they are be connected in any way. You still have not presented any evidence to support the position. You made the connection, not me. If you have evidence of this “problem” and the “public school is a solution” approach – present it.

                  You did however spend a great deal of time gibbering on about your absolutely irrelevant personal experience and calling me a troll – so good on ya. Job well done. Unless of course your job was to present a rational case – then not so much.

      • Dodgerdog1

        Public schools produce abused kids? That’s quite a statement. I don’t think the abuse is coming from the school.

    • Judith_Priest

      I worked in a store with a young woman who’d fled a “Quiverfull” home and run away to the big city.

      Her first two years here, she spent working in “Barely Legal” porn. She finally realized that was a dangerous lifestyle, and was trying to go “legit” in this office.

      But no one had ever taught her to *read*. She literally did not know the alphabet. Her Godly Parents sure did her no favors.

  • viaten

    Maybe Ken Ham could add zip lines to the school playground.

    • Mark W.

      He could, but I don’t think the parents would appreciate their children getting hit by lightning.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Hey, kids hit by lightning don’t have to risk getting autism from vaccinations.

    • RobMcCune

      They can’t afford it, the school is sinking all it’s money into a replica of Noah’s Ark.

      • Bdole

        Here’s to them testing its sea-worthiness firshand!

      • Michaela Samuels

        And those giant-ass crosses. ; )

        • islandbrewer

          I can’t picture what an ass cross looks like.

    • Artor

      That could save money on their electric bill. Great idea!

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Marry me?

  • Anna

    Wish I could say it was good news, but as the previous threads showed, there’s no shortage of schools teaching creationism in South Carolina. I have a feeling most of these kids will either be homeschooled or sent to other Christian schools. Let’s hope that at least a few make it to public school, though.

  • Icono

    It’s nice to know that they teach them to use all caps and multiple exclamation marks. Now I know why they all do it. They think it’s proper grammar.

    • IDP

      I like how a quiz with spelling errors still gets 100%. It was a while ago, but that would not have flown when I was in 4th grade. All those extra !!!’s after “Bible” must be worth extra points.

  • jferris

    Karma’s a bitch. And yes, I know that is not in line with science, it shows a belief in imaginary things, and that it is counter to reason. However, I do not have the intellectual capacity to come up with a meme or quip that is better than that.

    • TheLump

      But you do have the capacity and honesty to say, “I do not know”. This makes you light years ahead of those who claim to know because “it’s in their hearts”. Carry on good sir or, madam.

    • bodhi

      If all you mean by karma is “you reap what you sow”, or cause and effect as applied to your own actions in life, then you’re not advocating anything supernatural.

  • Brian

    “You must unlearn what you have learned.” -Yoda.

  • duke_of_omnium

    Schadenfreude is not a very noble emotion, but it is the most honest one I know of.

  • Tobias2772

    Hurray ! One down and a thousand to go.

  • Jeremy

    A school whose idea of equality in education means to do one’s best to make all children and adults on the campus equally retarded.

  • Truth

    Evolution theory hasn’t been proven! I’m still waiting for the half man half ape? Where’s the missing link!

    • Timmah

      Can’t tell if Troll… or actual Christian who’s been reading wayyyyy too much Ray Comfort.

      • Hatchetmaniac

        Ray Comfort can write?

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      *shows you pictures of my dad*

      Checkmate, theists!

    • Bdole

      Look in the mirror.
      :^P

    • Robin

      And the theory of creation has been proven hasn’t it “Truth”… You’re an idiot. You truly are an idiot.

    • Max Supernova

      Nice Poe job here.

    • Spuddie

      Ron Jeremy (half man, half hedgehog, close enough)

    • Matt D

      There is an abundance of evidence, yet education (and integrity, as one who starts from the position that their particular religion is “right”, is being dishonest, to say the least) is necessary to understand that a unfinished automobile is still a car, regardless of whether it’s “complete” or not. Frankly, you should have grasped what it means to “connect the dots” from an early age.

  • DougI

    Their god strikes a creationist park with lightning, now he shuts down a creationist school. What does he need to do to tell creationists their wrong? Does he have to make Ken Ham look like a balding wolfman or make Ray Comfort look like a blabbering idiot? Oh yeah, those haven’t worked either.

  • Hatchetmaniac

    I give it three days and we’ll see a Youtube video of Pat Robertson saying it was the Devil that did this. God doesn’t show his will by closing schools. He’s an earthquake/hurricane/tsunami kinda guy.

    • cipher

      Now if a tornado had struck the school, that would have been definitive.

  • Robin

    Wow, those kids could have been so messed up because of that school

  • Layla13

    Looks like they didn’t pray hard enough for the money to stay open…..

  • PinocchioSociety

    Thrilled! Thanks for the share.

  • Bryan DiMicelli

    “Next time someone tells you the earth is billions of years old, what can you say? Where you there?”

    Can anyone explain why creationists see this question as valid for evolution but not their own fairy tale?

    • Anna

      I’ve never understood that. They can’t possibly believe the people who wrote down the Genesis story were there when the events supposedly happened.

      • Terra Gazelle

        ell..at first there were no pockets to carry pen and paper.

  • KE

    Not all homeschoolers are religious! I homeschool my two kids and we are (gasp) atheist. Please stop thinking that all of us are crazy right-wing Ken Hamm loving crackpots – because we are not. Our numbers are growing everyday and we need people to understand part of the reason we homeschool is to keep crap like this out of our kids education.

    • Anna

      No one thinks that. In both the original post and the comment section, people are talking about fundamentalist homeschoolers. Everyone is aware that secular people homeschool, too.

    • DisentAgain

      I agree. The secular home school movement needs to be decoupled from its religious practitioners. Secular homeschooling is one of the most important and effective educational reforms of our time… to tie it religious isolationists is reckless, and a disservice. Always make the distinction between “religious homeschooling” and “secular homeschooling”.

      Smart, engaged, parents providing modern and thorough secular education to their own children is *much* different than isolationist fundamentalists hiding the truth from their kids.

      • Anna

        How do you know all (or even most) secular parents are giving their children a good education? There are secular “unschoolers” who don’t teach any type of curriculum at all. Those parents let their children decide what they want to learn. Do you have actual data on children being homeschooled by secular parents or with secular curriculum?

        • DisentAgain

          Yes, we do know. They graduate from college at a higher rate. They perform better in *all* academic measures. They get higher GPAs, better SATs, and even out score on just about every social and happiness measure.

          Plenty of independent research out there – google away, but here is (an arguably biased, but not debunked) info-graphic for easy reading.
          http://www.collegeathome.com/homeschool-domination/

          Note: I don’t have kids. I don’t home school. My opinion is 100% data driven, and based on the utter statistical failure of the public school system, and the clear value of secular homeschooling.

          • Anna

            That’s exactly the type of problematic research I mentioned. It’s self-selected, not comprehensive. We have no data on how all (or even most) homeschooled students are doing, precisely because so many homeschoolers are rabidly against mandatory testing. And furthermore, the page you linked to makes no distinction between secular and religious families. In fact, some of that data comes from HSLDA, a fundamentalist organization. Look at the citations.

            • DisentAgain

              I looked at the citations. I acknowledged the bias of the infographic. I’m still waiting for counter data. The numbers do vary, but there are many other sources out there if you care to do your own searches. Homeschooling * to all current relevant data * raises better kids in general. I’m happy to take evidence to the contrary into consideration.

              My point was to separate clearly harmful religious homeschooling practices from effective secular homeschooling. That point still stands.

              • Anna

                I’ve read quite a bit about this subject and the data simply does not support what you are trying to claim. The fact of the matter is that we have no comprehensive data. Some homeschooled students (the ones put forth for testing) do extremely well. What about all the thousands who do not? What about the ones who are never tested? Who never make it to college? If you’re a skeptic, I don’t know why you would accept research put out by biased organizations to be evidence of the success of homeschooling.

              • Ward

                The first citation on that infographic is from World Net Daily, the only “news organization” that makes FOX look like a bastion of objectivity.

                In case anyone here is unfamiliar with the steaming pile of shit that is WND, here are a few current headlines from their “faith” section:

                “MIT professor: Global warming a ‘religion’,” “Muslim Invaders Already ‘In the House’,” and my favorite, “Glenn Beck: U.S. Identified in Bible.”

                WND has zero credibility, and their presence in anything immediately tarnishes an argument. The Cato Institute and HSLDA are slightly less embarrassing, but accepting their word on this is like signing off on a tobacco report issued by Marlboro. It’s just inherently suspect. We’re off to a bad start here, but let’s take a look at some of the other citations, shall we?

                First off, the only two citations from an arguably neutral source are news articles from CBS and the Christian Science Monitor. We’ll come back to those.

                The about.com link is written by a homeschool mom, and is largely about how her kids can google and know how to use computers. That’s nice, but so do most kids everywhere.

                “End of the American Dream” appears to be a WND clone. The site’s tagline is “Waking People Up And Getting Them To Realize That The American Dream Is Quickly Becoming The American Nightmare.” Red flags raised, etc. The article itself bashes public school performance and says nothing about homeschooling.

                The equipeducation link is a PDF summarizing a study on the increase in homeschooling among the population, not the performance of homeschool students. Irrelevant for our purposes.

                The my frontier place link was the thesis project of a guy seeking his masters degree from Radford. In 1992. Even if everything in his research is 100% legit, it is now over 20 years old.

                The last link is some kind of homeschool family blog. Among THEIR citations are the Radford guy, the Discovery Institute (An organization that promotes intelligent design), and the Canadian arm of HSLDA. Even without these shoddy sources, a site that has the words ” fine homeschooling” in it is objectively suspect for the same reason Cato and HSLDA are.

                Which brings us back to CBS and the CS Monitor. Of the two, the CBS article is the only one that offers any kind of reliable, positive data for homeschool performance. The study they cited followed former homeschoolers, now in college, and found that they had a minor advantage in some test scores and GPA. For example, freshmen had a 3.46 GPA, compared to 3.12 for everyone else. All participants were from the same “unnamed medium-sized university in the upper Midwest.” Much of the study also measured factors that have nothing to do with academic performance, such as that 68% of participants were Catholic, or that they were more likely to live off campus.

                The CS Monitor article is not about homeschooling. Like the “American Dream” link, this story is about problems in public school performance, and what the president is doing to solve the issue. As with the AD article, the poor performance of public school students does not somehow prove that homeschoolers perform well.

                If anyone bothered to get this far, bravo. I didn’t do this because I have too much time on my hands, but because DisentAgain assured us that he “examined” the data himself, and that despite bias it shows that “*to all current relevant data*,” homeschooling “raises better kids in general.” False, because this “data” doesn’t show anything.

                Another poster above pointed out the importance of citations and where they come from. DisentAgain, your infographic doesn’t pass the smell test. It is dishonest to pass off misleading, heavily biased BS stats as fact just because it affirms what you already believe.

                But don’t take my word for it–I encourage everyone to look at the citations themselves. Anna is right–we need comprehensive, current data, and they need to be from sources that are above reproach.

                WND? Seriously?

                • Anna

                  Thanks for doing all that research! I wonder if there’s been any investigative journalism into the homeschool movement’s claims of academic superiority. Kunzman’s Write These Laws on Your Children delves into the topic a bit, but it has a narrower focus. I’d love to see a book that specifically outlines all the problems with what’s being touted as evidence.

  • cipher

    So, prayer doesn’t work? I’m disillusioned.

  • SluttyMary

    So where is that $15k going to? Right into their pockets.

  • Michaela Samuels

    I thought my Christian school’s science books were bad with their “evidence” disproving carbon dating and questioning the validity of evolution (“If Sally’s mom breaks her arm as a kid, Sally isn’t born with a broken arm! Thus, evolution is false.”).

    My old school is still up and running, but at least this “educational” facility has been forced to close its doors. Praise the Lord for that one. ; )

    • Paul Reed

      I guess ya just gotta praise the Lord. Do ya praise the Lord…?

      • Michaela Samuels

        Only sarcastically.

    • sceptinurse

      I went to a Baptist day school from grades 3-6 back in the 60′s. Interestingly enough, we had real science and there were never any conflicts with the religion studies. It’s amazing how it has changed over the years.

      • Michaela Samuels

        That is fascinating. Mine was a very small school connected with a very conservative church, which could definitely make a difference as not all religious schools have similar standards.

        I attended from K through halfway through my junior year, when my sister and I finally convinced my nearly bankrupted mother to stop wasting her money on poor education. At that time, science was not the only lacking study.

  • Donald Jones

    What happens to the $15,000? Goes to pad the pockets of the “teachers” I suppose.

  • Michael Hill

    These religious schools should be closed. All of them. If a child graduate with a diploma from a religious school, it should be denied at every university in the nation.

    • Spuddie

      Except they have their own universities too. Liberty U, Anal Roberts U…

  • Paul

    Now I know what to say to these Creationists. How do you know God created the Earth 6,000 years ago? Where you there?

  • beckT

    That’s evolution for ya!

  • Donald

    This whole tread Is gibberish because no one here can see the real root of the problem by seeing the “BIG” picture.

    • Your Mom

      Illuminate us, O’ wise one?

      • Donald

        You can not teach those who refuse to see.

  • Dr_Venture

    More B.S. from the Anti-Science, Flat-Earth GOP/Tea Party.

    “Science is the work of the devil” – Sarah Palin, Tea Party Leader, 2011.

    • Your Mom

      Wait. She really said that?! Really?! Whoa nelly. I must have missed that one.

  • Scott Duffy
  • Sick and tired

    If the day comes that we send our kids to school with vouchers, schools like this will THRIVE.

  • Debi Prather

    Unfortunately the children will probably be homeschooled, where there curriculum is more of the same.


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