La. Students Entitled to Own Opinions—and Own Facts?

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Photo by Todd Erick

August 7, 2012; Source: Mother Jones

Last week, we wondered about what might be taught in the nonprofit schools that Louisiana voucher students would be attending, as it seems like the Scopes Monkey Trial is still undecided in the minds of some Americans. We focused on whether the likely “intelligent design” curriculum of some of the religious schools might put Louisiana pupils at a disadvantage competing with kids from other states that teach a more contemporary and accurate view of science and evolution.

Deanna Pan of Mother Jones has expanded the list of “wacky ‘facts’” that will be taught in some of the designated voucher schools in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s state. Although she identified 14, we offer here only a few of the more interesting notions:

  • From a Bob Jones University life sciences textbook to be used by some of the participating Christian schools: “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.”
  • From an A Beka textbook: “God used the Trail of Tears to bring many Indians to Christ.”
  • From a Bob Jones history textbook: “A few slave holders were undeniably cruel. Examples of slaves beaten to death were not common, neither were they unknown. The majority of slave holders treated their slaves well.”
  • From a Bob Jones history textbook: “[The Ku Klux] Klan in some areas of the country tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross.”
  • From an A Beka history book: “Perhaps the best known work of propaganda to come from the Depression was John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath…Other forms of propaganda included rumors of mortgage foreclosures, mass evictions, and hunger riots and exaggerated statistics representing the number of unemployed and homeless people in America.”
  • Again, from A Beka: “It is no wonder that Satan hates the family and has hurled his venom against it in the form of Communism.”
  • From a Bob Jones University textbook on current events: Gays and lesbians “have no more claims to special rights than child molesters or rapists.”
  • From an A Beka economics textbook: “Global environmentalists have said and written enough to leave no doubt that their goal is to destroy the prosperous economies of the world’s richest nations.”

Yes, the nonprofit sector is exceptionally diverse, allowing for institutions that teach this nonsense. But do thinking citizens have to pay tax dollars for this? Why a state governed by a Rhodes scholar like Jindal would create a dynamic in which pupils are likely to regress in certain knowledge areas of science, history, and economics is simply beyond us.—Rick Cohen

  • Steven Plourde

    Compare these wacky facts with the dogma taught to middle school children in government schools in California that the blood in human veins is blue!

    I offered a middle school teacher (who was teaching this idiocy) $10,000 if she could produce one drop of blue blood from her veins! Needless to say, I kept my money. Unfortunately, she clung to her dogma.

  • rick cohen

    Dear Steven: The humor in me makes me think she was talking about “bluebloods,” but in any case, one teacher of misguided blood coloration doesn’t quite equal full textbooks with the information mentioned in the Louisiana article. Like you, I would hope that there would be a little more scientific fact reflected in what teachers teach, regardless of whether they’re in religious or secular schools. However, full curricula premised on antediluvian concepts cannot be countenanced, certainly no less so than an individual teacher who cuts her veins to find a rainbow palette.