For most of the time I’ve been blogging about them, Accelerated Christian Education has had little social media presence, as is befitting of an organisation which refuses to accept that the world is changing. Nevertheless, ACE has recently and with vigour launched its marketing department into 2006 with a revamped website and an official Facebook page.
ACE’s Facebook reviews page, as of last Thursday, had 74 reviews, of which 70 awarded five stars and the rest gave four stars. Then it came to the attention of one of the Facebook ACE survivor groups, and ex-students began posting about their negative experiences. This resulted in a small deluge of 1* reviews appearing in the space of half an hour, between about 11:30 and 12:00 CST.
Within two hours, ACE deleted its entire reviews page.
Who does that?!
Facebook doesn’t allow pages to delete individual reviews (otherwise it would be stuffed with five-star rated businesses), but it does allow businesses to report reviews. Obviously Facebook won’t remove reviews simply because they are negative; they have to violate community standards in some way.
The reviews ex-students were leaving would pass Facebook’s test, so ACE had two options: let the public see critical reviews, or delete the page. ACE, to no one’s surprise, took the nuclear option. This is a hilariously thin-skinned response, and typical of ACE’s modus operandi. Positive reviews still outnumbered negative reviews ten-to-one when the page got deleted, but ACE will not admit any criticism, no matter how well founded or reasonably expressed. This definitely, 100% does not make them look like a bunch of insular cultists. I don’t know why you’d even say that.
Luckily, the reviewers managed to retrieve most of their posts from old browers tabs or screenshots. Here are the majority of the reviews that made ACE delete its page:
Nevin Crouse reviewed ACE School of Tomorrow—1 star.
ACE curriculum is based on rote memorization — literally, the parroting of things heard. Thinking is often not required, so the most shallow possible learning takes place. Further, rote memorization does not prepare students to educate themselves when they leave the school setting. Interestingly, rote learning is also common in communist and other totalitarian societies. China has recognized this, and that it does not prepare their students to think, thus preventing innovation, so they are sending many students and teachers to the United States to learn to think. The methods of teaching in ACE curriculum are exactly what any country or people need to move away from.
[As well as being an ACE graduate, Nevin is also an Assistant Professor of Humanities.]
Barry Makepeace reviewed ACE School of Tomorrow—1 star.
It is unfortunate that this review will likely be deleted. However, it must be said. This curriculum is a poor tool for education. It does not account for diverse learning styles and does not adequately measure real learning–only rote memorization. It presents skewed material that is damaging for children. For example, I was taught that the Loch Ness Monster was real in high school and that a dead basking shark was really a dinosaur. I was taught numerous falsehoods throughout the Biology course that are easily refuted if one has access to outside information. I don’t know which is worse–telling outright lies or omitting truths, but there is no positive intent in telling children scientific lies.
The fact is that other religious curricula do a far better job of presenting scientific evidence to support their claims than ACE.
The real deficit is in the assessment of learning. All children take the same tests which require simple memorization as preparatory work. This does not measure conceptualization. Rather, it measures the ability to memorize. Many schools do not employ certified teachers. This means that for particularly robust analytical courses, children do not have the opportunity to ask questions to someone trained in the subject. It’s not like the curriculum asks robust questions anyway. Most children using ACE will never step foot in a science laboratory. They will never learn black history (outside of tidbits). They will not sit art electives outside of what a church-school can offer. Many will not have access to a fitness center or gymnasium.
As the narrative of the curriculum is from a white male voice and is designed to be self-taught, and the historical narrative of the PACEs is told from a Western European perspective, girls and children of color have no opportunity to learn about their own histories outside of the context of how their stories are told by white men.
Please consider alternative methods of educating your children. I am still filling in gaps in my education in my 30s.
Barry Makepeace has also written this blog post about his ACE experience.
Chelsea reviewed ACE School of Tomorrow— 1 star.
I would like to thank ACE for the unrelenting torment and psychological issues I still have today at the age of 24. You really do have a way of making children hate themselves because they feel like they’ll never be good enough because of the constant barrage of indoctrination that teaches outright lies as gospel truth.
Matthew Pocock reviewed ACE School of Tomorrow—1 star.
I attended a school that used ACE for 3 years. It is 3 years of my education that I will never get back. A curriculum based entirely on reading and copying answers into blanks was utterly unsuited to me as a dyslexic. It did not develop any reasoning or analytical skills, nor did it have any mechanism to enable group learning or research from 3rd party sources of information. Asking questions about the material was discouraged, and every question had exactly one correct answer given by the scoring key. It is an utterly terrible way to educate, and serves only as a means to indoctrinate and keep children dependent upon the host church community with little prospect of future advancement through higher or further education or engagement with the wider world. If you care at all about your kids, don’t use ACE.
Theresa Kent reviewed ACE School of Tomorrow—1 star.
The school I attended was abusive. Charity Haven: Milton, Florida. It did not promote/encourage critical thinking… Just memorization. I feel sorry for the students that don’t have access to a more diverse curriculum. It stunted me both emotionally and academically.
Jamie A. Miller reviewed ACE School of Tomorrow—1 star.
I don’t appreciate how it teaches of gays at the same time it references AIDS, and how it’s a sin and then almost never again. Pretty homophobic. (There are other examples but these are the ones i chose to use.) It’s weird how i did these books in the 90’s yet the books pretended that segregation by color was still a good thing, which is pretty racist. And then tells the susceptible reader that “the political right is always right even if the left appears more humanistic” which if you grow up to be gay couldn’t be more of a slap to the face.
If you grow out of this way of thinking at all like I did it’s then worthless, and has left me with more mental harm and pain than good. And a mom that wouldn’t even try to understand that it was trying to make me a Republican when she’s a Democrat. She takes my criticism’s of this curriculum as personal attacks, but it’s not her fault that these books taught me to hate myself. She tried and ace was the only thing she found back then. It made me believe I wasn’t good because I turned out gay once a friend taught me what masturbation was and my sexuality turned on around 16/17 years old. Seems the books fail to teach Sex Ed whatsoever—showing chickens accomplishes very little.
I’ve showed some of this stuff to my husband and he immediately called it an indoctrination and started looking up to see how it could be legal. He works in the aerospace industry as an engineer, and he see’s the mental pain I go through when he even proposes i go back to school, it was that bad… I feel bad for the money my mom wasted on this, and my education pains me when i think about it. If only I could get the money back for a psychologist, or an actual eduction. Growing up searching the Internet probably gave me a better education. There’s that self-doubt I learned, represented in the word probably. PS: I ran away from home before I could finish, probably didn’t get very far. I consider it better before it could do more damage.
For those wondering what “showing chickens accomplishes very little” means, see here.
Caitlin reviewed ACE School of Tomorrow—1 star.
I’ve been going through years of therapy to try and get through some of the PTSD I have obtained by going to an ACE school. This is the very first time I have publicly posted my feelings on the matter, so given the PTSD and anxiety I have, this is a very very hard thing for me to do. I’m literally scared to type this thing up. Because in my ACE school I was told that we didn’t ask questions, we just believed, because thats what The Word says. Many times I (quite literally) cried out for help when I was bullied and self harming, and I was told to quit wearing my heart on my sleeve and to get back to work, or a nice Bible verse left on my desk during break telling me that my body was the temple of the Lord. My mental state got worse and instead of helping me, I was told I had a [spiritual] heart problem, that i needed to get right with the Lord. I still to this day have nightmares of being isolated and criticised by the authoritative figures there. I left not prepared for college at all. I even asked if I could stay one more year because I didn’t feel comfortable graduating having only done barely near what everyone else in my grade had accomplished. I was told too bad by the principal. I had to “graduate.” I completely failed my first and only year of college. Never went back (though I’d like to one day). A lot of what I was doing in ACE was memorizing. No hands on work at all. No extra curricular activities, or clubs. Theres so much more I could say but this is a review, not my life story. While many may think “that’s just the school, not the curriculum” all of this happened under the systematics of ACE… I wouldn’t recommend ACE to anyone.
Lydia reviewed ACE School of Tomorrow—1 star.
I was homeschooled with ACE for my entire school life. The emphasis on rote memorization and complete lack of basic skills taught is a travesty. I’m still attempting to fill in gaps in my education, but what I believe is even worse than that is that I was told so many things that are either untrue or are partial lies. For example, that Nessie disproves evolution. That the earth’s magnetic field would rip it apart if it ever switched direction. That apartheid was good for people of. That I am less valuable than a male, and not worth anything at all without reference to a male.
I will never have the career I once dreamed of, or be able to pursue my passions to their fullest extent, because ACE stole 12 years of my life.
I’d like to extend my thanks to the writers of these reviews for permission to reproduce them here and for their bravery in talking about their experiences. I’d also like to thank ACE for demonstrating publicly once again what a bunch of isolationist weirdoes they are, and for guaranteeing that these reviews will now be read by way more people than if they’d just been left on the Facebook page.