Under Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal’s sweeping new school voucher program, tens of millions of Louisiana taxpayer dollars will be used to offer vouchers to more than half of the state’s poor and middle-class public school students. These students can in turn use these vouchers to attend more than 120 private schools, including a number of small, Bible-based learning institutions that boast extreme anti-science and anti-history curriculums while championing creationism.
Earlier this week, C. Welton Gaddy, the president of a national multi-faith religious group, blasted Jindal’s program in a letter to the governor, claiming the effort represents “a ruthless attack on public education" and violates the separation of church and state.
“Let me be clear: I am not appalled that a Christian school is teaching its students that God created the Earth ... Children in my church learn that every Sunday," Gaddy wrote. “I am appalled that these schools are teaching theology as science, and they’re doing so with government money, my tax dollars."
Lance Hill, executive director of the Southern Institute for Education and Research, echoed this sentiment, telling Reuters in July: "Almost all the voucher schools are religious schools, and many use an evangelical curriculum that teaches that humans walked the earth 6,000 years ago with dinosaurs. Do I, as a taxpayer, want my taxes to support that as a proper education in science?"
One of the schools in question is the Light City Church School of the Prophets, which will receive over $700,000 a year via Jindal’s vouchers. As Diane Ravitch points out in her education blog, the school is run by Leonard Lucas, a former, one-term Louisiana State Representative who refers to himself as an apostle or prophet.
According to Mother Jones, many of the Christian schools rely on A Beka Book curriculum or Bob Jones University Press textbooks to teach their students “the accumulated wisdom of the past from a biblical worldview.”
Researcher Rachel Tabachnick and writer Thomas Vinciguerra examined the aforementioned texts in detail, citing the most blatant inaccuracies.
Mother Jones listed their 14 favorite lessons, and among them is a line from the Teacher's Resource Guide to Current Events for Christian Schools that gays "have no more claims to special rights than child molesters or rapists."
Another textbook claims that modern math is bollocks and has no place in society, while a third, Life Science, speculates that dinosaurs may very well have been man's original best friend: "Bible-believing Christians cannot accept any evolutionary interpretation. Dinosaurs and humans were definitely on the earth at the same time and may have even lived side by side within the past few thousand years."