Op-ed: stop teaching Christian crap to kids in Florida schools

Op-ed: stop teaching Christian crap to kids in Florida schools June 9, 2018

Ever since he took office, Donald Trump has been feverishly working alongside evangelical Christians to remake America in their own image: an idiocracy.
Fortunately, America still has writers who have the courage to stand up to this trend: writers like Lauren Ritchie whose op-ed in yesterday’s Orlando Sentinel excoriated Florida schools that teach “fake science and distorted history – all because uneducated charlatans have figured out how to intimidate state legislators.”

Some of these schools – 80 percent describe themselves as ‘Christian’ – use textbooks that claim people lived with dinosaurs. Heck, Noah had a couple in the ark. Some say God saved North America from Catholics and gave them South America instead. Others teach that slaves who ‘knew Christ’ had ‘more freedom’ than non-believers who weren’t captive. Babble. Just sheer babble.
The only reason these fringe ‘Christian schools’ are getting away with sucking up millions in education funding is that Florida legislators are afraid of offending them. Elected types are so terrified of the instant howling about ‘Christians’ being ‘persecuted’ that they never seriously considered demanding the course of study in voucher schools meet the same standards taught in public schools. They’re just happy to buy votes with millions in cash. Your tax dollars.

Ritchie went on to point out that these schools are

Neither real schools nor, scholars will argue, are they Christian. They’re just little money-making engines for benighted fraudsters whose only other chance at a paying job is the Sears hardware department.

While conceding that not all voucher schools “act like science is just a different religion – some are excellent schools with deep community roots,” Richie referenced the Sentinel‘s series “Schools Without Rules” which revealed some voucher schools hire high school dropouts and felons as teachers, and even one fellow criminally charged with inappropriately touching a student popped up in three different voucher schools.

Stop it right now. The US Supreme Court has ruled that vouchers aren’t a violation of the First Amendment because they’re given to parents who then make the decision on where to educate their children. That doesn’t mean these schools should get away with teaching gibberish. They should meet the same curriculum requirements as every public school.

Ritchie quoted Tim Dees, Director of Downey Christian School in east Orange County, where 90 percent of his 275 students rely on state scholarships to pay tuition, as saying:

We believe our way is correct. We focus on creationism because that’s what we believe.

Ritchie commented:

No problem. Do fundamentalists want their kids to learn a bunch of hillbilly science? Handle venomous snakes? Learn that God looks down on Catholics, that America would still have slavery except ‘some power-hungry individuals stirred up the people’? Knock yourself out. Just don’t expect anyone else to pay for it, and stop calling it ‘education’. It’s not. It’s more like a 12-year sentence to some anamorphic Sunday school class from hell with no time off for good behavior.

Ritchie then quoted Richard Parker, an Episcopalian Christian and a lecturer at the Kennedy Center, as asking:

Who gave them the inner road to Jesus versus others professing Christian faith? This is all about political power, not religion.
It’s an embarrassment. It’s like trying to argue with your pre-adolescent. Think of evangelicals as teenage Christians – there’s a lot of enthusiasm but not a lot of wisdom.

Ritchie concluded:

So, Florida keeps providing money for schools that require third-grade students to face the very challenging task of differentiating between a pie and a cake, while public school third-graders must take a rigorous literacy skill test that requires them to read two passages and answer some questions in full sentences to progress to fourth grade.
Florida has plenty of money to subsidize religious education. But not enough to keep students safe. Not enough to treat substance abuse in prisons. Not enough to repair crumbling roads, help homeless veterans or offer affordable housing for theme-park workers.
A full percentage point of a record-breaking $88.7 billion state budget has to go to substandard voucher schools so Florida can look like the ignorant idiot nationwide. God bless us. We’re not even smart enough to save us from ourselves.

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  • 1859

    O when will all this shit end?

  • Jobrag

    1859, This shit will end when the majority come to terms with the finality of death and no longer need the crutch of religion to get through life, don’t hold your breath.

  • andym

    These fuckwitted nutters are in a minority even among the religious. Why are they pandered to? Because they organise and can deliver a block vote. It’s the same reason Labour in the UK shits its pants at the thought of losing muslim votes by challenging the reactionary ideology of its clerics.

  • tonye

    Our politicians are vote whores?
    Whatever next!

  • andym

    Not my point was it? It’s who they’re whoring for that’s important.

  • barriejohn

    @andym: Yes. And not always voted in by the persons named on the Electoral Roll, either!

  • Stan

    Jobrag. No. This shit will only end when the gullible credulous under educated majority of ‘mercans slowly realise what absolute jackasses they are. When they realise that the Mega Rich indiviaduals and the Mega Rich Corporations have tricked them. Tricked them into being a huge mercilessly exploited herd of stupefied consumers, consuming all the trash they are made to desire an ache for by Mega Rich Advertisers and the Mega Rich manipulated Networks.When they realised they have been tricked and subdued through the channels of the godly huckster evangelists. Want power and huge amounts of easy money? Then turn the population into a stupefied cash cow by poorly educating them, seducing them into buying stuff they really don’t need. And teach them they are traitors and bad americans if they don’t believe in god. And let them have guns so the lard assed good ole boys can feel macho and manly as they ride around in their grossly oversized pickups stuffing their faces with burgers and beer as they go. And of course you need a powerful military fed with the hopeless youths off the streets sending them off with incredible firepower to beat up on other less capable countries and all to make the average ‘mercan think that theirs is the greatest most powerful country ever on the planet and with god on their side. Its going to go horribly wrong very soon. Maybe it already has with the election of Trump as Mr President. How else can you explain Trump’s appalling election victory and his dangerously fatuous facile policies if what I assert is not true?
    And yes I know there are many many rational sensible Americans but they are burdened with hundreds of millions of the stupefied gawps who do what the mega rich stealthily coerce them to do.

  • andym

    “How else can you explain Trump’s appalling election victory and his dangerously fatuous facile policies if what I assert is not true?”
    Apathy? “No religion” voted against Trump, when they voted. Trouble was, they were proportionately much less likely to vote at all. By contrast, evangelicals were 4/5 Trump supporters and more likely to vote.
    Home. Roost. Chickens.It’s also ,though,a pity the opponent was Clinton. I sometimes think the Democrats could literally have dragged someone in at random off the street and done at least as well.

  • Vanity Unfair

    schools that require third-grade students to face the very challenging task of differentiating between a pie and a cake
    That might not be easy, after all United Biscuits (UK) Ltd v The Commissioners of Customs and Excise LON/91/160 (VTD 6344) kept a lot of very expensive legal brains in Chateauneuf-du-Pape for years while deciding whether Jaffa Cakes are cakes or biscuits. This could be very valuable career training.