Crazy stuff they'll teach in Louisiana's publicly funded charter schools

Louisiana governor (and retired exorcist) Bobby Jindal has signed an aggressive charter school bill that will transfer millions in tax dollars to religious academies run by evolution-denying, homophobic, climate-change-denying Christian extremists. Mother Jones's Deanna Pan went for a dig through these schools' official texts and discovered that Louisiana's publicly funded education system will soon tell some of its luckiest students that the KKK "achieved a certain respectability" by fighting bootleggers; "the majority of slave holders treated their slaves well;" dragons might be real; "dinosaurs and humans were definitely on the earth at the same time," and many other fun facts.

3. "God used the Trail of Tears to bring many Indians to Christ."—America: Land That I Love, Teacher ed., A Beka Book, 1994...

7. The Great Depression wasn't as bad as the liberals made it sound: "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."—United States History: Heritage of Freedom, 2nd ed., A Beka Book, 1996...

10. Mark Twain and Emily Dickinson were a couple of hacks: "[Mark] Twain's outlook was both self-centered and ultimately hopeless…Twain's skepticism was clearly not the honest questioning of a seeker of truth but the deliberate defiance of a confessed rebel."—Elements of Literature for Christian Schools, Bob Jones University, 2001

"Several of [Emily Dickinson's] poems show a presumptuous attitude concerning her eternal destiny and a veiled disrespect for authority in general. Throughout her life she viewed salvation as a gamble, not a certainty. Although she did view the Bible as a source of poetic inspiration, she never accepted it as an inerrant guide to life."—Elements of Literature for Christian Schools, Bob Jones University, 2001...

12. Gay people "have no more claims to special rights than child molesters or rapists."—Teacher's Resource Guide to Current Events for Christian Schools, 1998-1999, Bob Jones University Press, 1998

One text also decries mathematical set theory as ungodly.

14 Wacky "Facts" Kids Will Learn in Louisiana's Voucher Schools



  1. I get their point that mathematics is absolute.  But the set theory argument… ugh. It’s like they don’t understand the omnipotence of their own God because they believe somehow he’s not infinite enough to contain other infinities.    

    1. Are you kidding me? The average American “Christian” doesn’t even know the NAME of their own god! Or even realize that their god even HAS a name other than “God”! Such that they think saying “God damn it” is taking the deity’s name in vain, not realizing that the entire reason the deity is referred to merely as “God” is so one doesn’t have to actually utter the real name!

      The average “devout believer” DOESN’T understand their own god, or much else about their religion for that matter. They may have read through the Bible, but they lack the knowledge, education, and critical thinking skills to place it into its proper historical and societal context. This is why we have religious literalists. They know just enough to be frighteningly wrong about everything, yet be utterly convinced of their correctness. They’ve done the minimum amount of inquiry to arrive at a conclusion that they think makes sense from their extremely limited viewpoint, and will defend it until death because they refuse to make deeper inquiries or recognize further complexities of the subject. Because after all, the bible was magically written by God himself in English so than any idiot can pick it up without any fore-knowledge and learn everything there is to know about Christianity just by reading it once or twice, right?

      “Life unquestioned is life lived in a religious state.” – Godfrey Reggio

      1. I can’t make this complaint about most Southern Baptists, who are the ones mostly responsible for things like this, but it drives me crazy to know that so many people believe the Bible is written by God and holds all the answers to life, but haven’t gotten around to reading it.

          1. More than the length is the complexity and foreignness.

            Pretty much everything it talks about is completely cut off from the everyday experiences of a modern American “Christian”.

            The Roman Empire was a weird place, and Judea was an even weirder backwater client kingdom. You have to understand what living then and there was like, what sorts of behaviors and beliefs existed, what the society of Judea was like, how the governments and the religions and the everyday customs of people on the street interacted and played off one another. You need to know who the Bible is talking about, whom it is talking to, what about, why, and how.

            If you don’t understand that the Roman Empire was locally resented by the Judeans, you don’t have the proper information to parse the bits that talk about the Romans. The significance of the Centurion coming to Jesus to have his son healed is utterly lost if you don’t realize just how amazingly stunning that event would have been given the relationship between Rome and Judea.

            Likewise if you don’t understand the way family values operated in Judea, then you can’t possibly make sense of things like Jesus’s family coming to take him home and his renouncing them and instead claiming that his followers were his family. In context this was utterly scandalous stuff!

            To make any real sense of the Bible you have to be able to place yourself into the world that it was dealing with and place yourself into the mindframe of the people it was written for. Otherwise you’re just grasping at straws.

    2. Perhaps a visual aid would be of help in illustrating how these two concepts overlap but are not synonyms.  If only there were some sort of simple diagram whith which to show intersecting membership of two distinct se- I mean bunches of things.

    3. That’s the thing. Set theory can be used to ultimately prove that Mathematics isn’t absolute. even “worse”, it can be used to prove that no logical construct (like physics or logic itself) can ever be complete.
      This means goodbye to a world where everything is not just determined but knowable, let alone explained in the bible. Tis is a huge philosophical thing, although I don’t think most people whom it concerns actually know about it.
      I think most people just don’t like teaching set theory to children because when they started teaching it in school it was not really done well or perceived as useful by most students at the time. Maybe there’s also a too close connection to logic and this type of stuff that is sometimes a problem because not every word in the bible satisfies standards of formal logic — who’d have thought? — and therefore formal logic must be wrong.

  2. Oh so what. Let natural selection take its course.

    EDIT: (reply to all) OK, I was being needlessly flippant. I agree that it’s terrible but I can’t see that there’s anything to do about it other than out-compete the crazies in the marketplace of ideas.

    1. You seem to be missing the part where these beliefs are being taught in publicly funded schools.

      Maybe the part where taxpayer money is being put to use propagating hatred against homosexuals, denial of historical tragedies, glorifying of racial supremacists, and villifying scientific thought and inquiry.

      Or maybe the part where these are schools, and hence children are being taught these beliefs as if they were fact. Beliefs which might drive those children away from careers in science and mathematics, lead them to dismiss creditable history, desensitize them to human cruelty and hatred, or at the very worst expose them to said cruelty and hatred if those children themselves happen to be non-white or homosexual, or both.

      1. Not to mention, some of those children will still believe this crap when they are adults, go into politics or education, and continue the cycle of stupidity and bigotry.

        1. Perhaps HE institutions worldwide might be persuaded to introduce compulsory remedial courses for the unfortunate inhabitants of Louisiana.

      2. Maybe the part where taxpayer money is being put to use propagating hatred against homosexuals, denial of historical tragedies, glorifying of racial supremacists, and villifying scientific thought and inquiry.

        You mean the politicians, not the schools, right? And more broadly, American culture?

        The schools aren’t doing this by themselves. They represent a very-much-alive stream of American culture which supports these ideas and has been controlling dialogue at the national level since the birth of your country. If this stream of culture didn’t exist, no school would by trying to push it, and if they did, they’d be snapped back so fast it wouldn’t even be funny.

        Sometimes I think that the left believes that the right is a bunch of rural nutjobs that can be safely ignored. But they are your neighbours, friends, family. There’s only one way you’re going to change, America, and that’s by confronting yourselves.

    2. These people tend to have more children, not fewer, since they are against family planning and contraception. Natural selection is currently on their side. Evolution doesn’t necessarily lead to increased expression of mankind’s highest ideals. It’s incumbent on us to guide it in that direction.

      1.  Yeah, but in our society its more about economic power and the concern is not so much about their reproductive rates but their alliance with powered, moneyed, interests. 

    3.  Natural selection works over very long periods of time.  The trick here is not allowing the entire human race to be the collateral extinction.

    4. For every evolutionary advance, there are about 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 acts of predation. It’s not the kind of process where taking a wait and see attitude really pays off.

    1.  THIS. Cory, didn’t you see Maggie’s post? I would’ve thought you’d at least have referenced it.

    2. A Beka is pretty wacky.

      Mathematics is the language God used in His creation of the universe, and thus it is logical, orderly, beautiful, and very practical in science and in daily life. No subject matter better reflects the glory of God than mathematics. To study mathematics is to study God’s thoughts after Him, for He is the great Engineer and Architect of the universe.Unlike the “modern math” theorists, who believe that mathematics is a creation of man and thus arbitrary and relative, we believe that the laws of mathematics are a creation of God and thus absolute. All of the laws of mathematics are God’s laws. Our knowledge of God’s absolute mathematical laws may be incomplete or at times in error, but that merely shows human frailty, not relativity in mathematics. Man’s task is to search out and make use of the laws of the universe, both scientific and mathematical.A Beka Book provides attractive, legible, workable traditional mathematics texts that are not burdened with modern theories such as set theory. These books have been field-tested, revised, and used successfully for many years in Christian schools. They are classics with up-to-date appeal. Besides training students in the basic skills that they will need all their lives, the A Beka Book traditional mathematics books teach students to believe in the absolutes of the universe, to work diligently to get right answers, and to see the facts of mathematics as part of the truth and order that God has built into the real universe.

    1. Sometimes I think these people have such weird theories about fantasy stories being the gate to demonic whatnots and witchcraft and so on because they’re actually not good christians and in fact they are the only ones on the planet who believe that these things exist for real. By extension, they are then probably afraid that demons or whathavyou might overpower the forces of good, because … dunno, god is o weak to defend against them? At this point my logic fails, but there’s the thing with logic and religious extremists … maybe it’s also because they deny the existence of metaphors (and any figure of speech, really) in the bible, and probably by extension in any other literature. Maybe this is because many of the arguments for whe the bible must be taken literal are based on semantics (i.e. making a true, figuratively worded statement and then taking it literally) and not logic.
      … maybe I’m just making this up? Stereotyping? I’d like to read a proper deconstruction of the religiously fanatic mindset. But maybe there’s more than one, though. I heard they are individuals too.

    2.  Of course dragons have to be real. They are mentioned in Isaiah (27:1, 51:9), Job (26:12-13), and Psalms (89:10). Isaiah 27:1, in particular, relates dragons to Leviathan and to the great sea-monsters of Genesis 1:21.

      At least in some people’s world view.

      1. I wonder what the likelihood of these dragons being creative attempts at explaining dinosaur fossils…

        1. For the possible link between fossil finds and belief in dragons (and other fabulous monsters) see: Adrienne Mayor, The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times.  It’s a great read.

  3. They’re right.  Gay people have no more claims to special rights than child molesters or rapists.  Hey, we let those people marry, right?  Guess we’ve gotta let the gays get married too now.

  4. Here’s a topic sure to inspire lively debate: What if this kind of religious belief is caused by a psychoactive biological infection like Toxoplasmosis? What trends would one expect to see if fundamentalism were caused by a disease?

    1. I think we’d see a diligent attack on vaccinations and large groups of parents refusing to have their children vaccinated. Luckily that hasn’t happened. Oh, wait…

      1. I think you make a good cautionary point that is often lost on those of us who consider ourselves educated and reasonable, but when you get down to it, there’s got to be a limit to moral relativism, right?

          1. @boingboing-88bade49e98db8790df275fcebb37a13:disqus Psychopathy is in the DSM-IV.  That’s why it’s a good example.  Psychopaths are a group of people with distinguishable personality traits which have been defined as a disease.  Ted Bundy is just an example of this larger class.

          2. @boingboing-7160c7db52df96e5fe196a6c9ce73f83:disqus I really am, though, and I agree with you.  But I think this is a difficult issue.  Radical tolerance has its own problems. This is exemplified by a comment I saw from a social conservative recently (paraphrased): “It’s intolerant of you not to tolerate my intolerance!”

          3. this is reply to down below.. 

            Not in the same way people who share a religion are, I’m afraid. I don’t think Ted Bundy spent his time reinforcing his pathology with other psychos, as far as I know.  That’s not quite the same thing as a group of people who chose to share a religious or political conviction. At least I don’t think so.

          4. @boingboing-88bade49e98db8790df275fcebb37a13:disqus Psychopathy is just one example.  What I’m trying to get across is that being a fairly tolerant, open society also has disadvantages.  For example, western democracies have fairly open borders and I think this is a very good thing.  They’re open on the understanding that there are certain “rules” pertaining to them — their primary uses are education and tourism.  The problem arises when certain groups or individuals decide to take advantage of the conditions predicated on those rules without themselves following the rules.  For example, Islamic terrorists have in many cases taken advantage of fairly open borders not to see the sights or go to college but to kill human beings.

            That said, I think open borders are great and the threat from Islamic terrorism is so small that it would be foolish to close them on this account.  Likewise, I think religious tolerance is an important value and I don’t think religious beliefs should be criminalized or pathologized — in fact, I think this is exactly what’s objectionable about witch hunts.  On the other hand, I don’t want to fool myself into thinking these (my own) positions on these issues don’t have any downsides.

        1. Absolutely. I just happen to think that speculating (without any evidence whatsoever) that the people you disagree with are suffering from some sort of brain-altering parasite is probably stupid and not a useful way to engage in public debate. 

          1. Okay, I concede! The remark was flippant and ill-considered, and I’m embarrassed to be called on it by someone I respect. However, the gulf between me and the people who subscribe to this worldview really is more than a simple disagreement between potential friends, since an important part of the package is to believe that I, as an apostate, am the worst person possible, and to express that view through social and political decisions that make an impact on my life. I might not concern myself with fundamentalism, but fundamentalism will still concern itself with me.

      2. Fine, I suppose that comment was a bit catty of me. But I’m in Birmingham, btw, so I think you know which side of that Good People vs The Other equation I have to live on.

  5. “God used the Trail of Tears to bring many Indians to Christ.”

    He cut out the middleman and brought a lot of them straight to Heaven. How did A Beka miss that?

  6. I guess we’re assured that there will not be any Louisianans attending prestigious colleges in the near future. Certainly not if they depend on SAT scores for admission.

    It’s sad that so many people will be taught bald-faced lies as gospel.

    1. These are all books common among right-wing homeschoolers.  They don’t seem to be having any issues getting into college.  And thanks to the 2010 elections, they’ve pretty well taken over the GOP machine.  And in many places, the local and state government.

        1. You can have charter schools, and not have them run by people who make medieval peasants look reasonable and well-educated. Same with homeschooling.

          1. it’s more like favoring private corporations that perform no better on average than public schools instead of focusing on the real problem in school performance – poverty.

          2. Yes, of course.  But the ones mentioned above, whose curriculum includes the books mentioned in the article, are  schools I would seriously discount as to academic rigor.  It’s very hard to live an examined life in a small, box, assuming that everything inside the box is all there is.

    2. “I guess we’re assured that there will not be any Louisianans attending prestigious colleges in the near future.”

      Or, this strain of fundamentalism continues to spread at its current, rapid clip until those institutions we consider “prestigious” are also wrapped up in it. I’ve known far too many folks who brag about their college degrees from various unaccredited Bible colleges, and I’ve also met many who consider them “prestigious.”

      1. They are welcome to consider their sort of schooling prestigious if they wish. For a bible school, perhaps it is prestigious. However, unless I was interested in finding a well-schooled religious nut job, I wouldn’t look for graduates from a bible school.

        I’d look askance at any future doctors educated in Louisiana.

  7. The world is only 10,000 years old.  Or was that 6,000?  I can’t remember.  Doesn’t matter anyways, because 9/11 and Jesus said you’re going to H-E-double-hockey-sticks because you had S-E-X.

      1. And lose most of their agricultural base, complicate the political interactions of the developed world, and face direct competition for expansion into the Western Territories. Wouldn’t just be shooting themselves in the foot or anything…

        1. Yeah, I should have written that in a way that indicated I was being sarcastic. I’m from the South and am grateful the North won the Civil War. Among other things we benefit from the taxes paid by those northern “blue” states, although I think the South has recovered sufficiently from the devastation of the Civil War that we should be contributing more and taking less.

      2. Can you imagine a world without the South? No peanuts? No Coca-Cola? No NASCAR? Where would we vacation if there were no Florida? Where would we act like morons in public of there were no NOLA? The horror. The horror.

        1. Y’all seem to have no trouble acting like morons in public up North, although I concede the point that running around shirtless in April seems more appealing in NOLA rather than Chicago, where it would be a mite chillier.

          As for vacationing, there’s always southern California. Yes, it’s in the south, but it’s not in The South.

          1. Something we have never been able to accomplish up North is the following transaction: I will give you twelve cent beads and you will show me your breasts while creepy dudes take pictures that will DEFINITELY end up on the internet. As far as I can tell, that is a NOLA special.

        2. Normally I’d be right on board with someone making fun of NOLA (because I live here now, it’s cool) but I do hope you realize that any lovely young ladies showing off their attributes for beads aren’t actually *from* here, that they (likely) came from the North to do that.   If you can’t get it to happen where you’re at maybe you just need to try harder.

          (Full disclosure – I’m originally from VA, lived for almost a decade in NYC, now in NOLA.  Live here and Mardi Gras is about awesome parades, you try to avoid the shirtless drunken idiots).

          1. Right. That was the point. Northern males and females travel to a city in the South to make complete asses out of themselves, but don’ t have the same tradition in their home states.

  8. The only good that I can see coming of this is that a generation of kids are going to learn that adults tell lies and that religious people are happy to make you the laughingstock of the nation for their own stupidly selfish purposes. Those are two good life lessons to learn, although the cost may be too high for the poor victims.

  9. In a few years time, any employer who sees a resume arrive from someone in Louisiana is just going to put it in the recycling.

    1. You are dramatically mistaken, and have a misunderstanding of how a large chunk of employment works, especially here in the south. Many employers (and not just Chick-fil-a or other publicly religious companies) don’t give a rat’s ass where the degree came from. To compound things, religious fundamentalists are *very* well entrenched in the upper echelons of government and management, and will give preferential treatment to graduates of such programs. It’s a self-reinforcing cycle. I suspect the only people who will be hurt by this are intelligent, ambitious high school students who want to attend out-of-state colleges.

  10. Is the argument supposed to be against charter schools/voucher programs or against the content of the education?
    I generally like MJ and all, but it seems they’re using the Fox News style hyperbole here: The title has the word WILL, but the article not-so-clearly points out that not all schools are like this and that only 15% have been ID’d creationist schools.
    If you’re against the charter/voucher system and how it works, that is fine.  If you’re against public financing of a non-state standardized/sanctioned curriculum, that is also fine.  But, it seems discriminatory to be against very specific religious aspects – whether you agree with them or not.  Financed in any why by the public or not, these schools do and will exist and some will have teachings that are strange or inaccurate. 

    1. @crnk 

      But, it seems discriminatory to be against very specific religious aspects – whether you agree with them or not.

      That’s right, suggesting that schools should avoid teaching blatant falsehoods for ideological purposes is “discriminatory.”

      1. And I have problems with downplaying the fact that “only 15% have been ID’d creationist schools” (emphasis added).

        There is no reason why anyone in any publicly funded school should be teaching creationism as a fact.

      2.  I see a lot of crazy opinions and ‘alternative’ scientific theory shown, but the only blatant lie I see listed is the Africa literacy rate, and I’m also confused by the math thing but that just seems to be a “we don’t need this modenism” aspect with excluding some topics and not them teaching them anything truly false. 
        I don’t agree with what they’re teaching, but [as an example], they’re just providing a non-mainstream opinion when they say associate globalization to rapture.

        1. 1. Dinosaurs and humans coexisted.  –false factual assertion
          2. Dragons were real. –false factual assertion
          3. “God used the trail of tears to bring Indians to Christ” — faith statement presented as factual assertion
          4. Ideological craziness presented as fact
          5. Slaveholders were totally sweet dudes — (demonstrably) false factual assertion

          Do I really need to keep going or can you just admit you’re wrong?

    2. Yes.  But (IMO) public funding of them, especially as religious schools, is highly inappropriate.  Especially with items used like the above-mentioned curriculum.

      1. What about a [hypothetical] Jewish school with an agreeable curriculum?  It is a religious school but doesn’t have the content hang-ups that the focused on schools do.  I take it that your opinion is that they shouldn’t be funded this way but you don’t have extra bias against it?

      1. What if it is done sporadically? Also, will Protective Services take my kid away, or just tell him that Santa and the Easter Bunny are not real?

        1. Only if you keep telling them they’re real all the way through to adulthood, and punish and disown them for not making wish lists or leaving teeth beneath pillows. I understand the point you’re making, but I think your example, while valid, is at the more benign end of the abuse spectrum.

          I personally find the idea of lying to my children about those kinds of things just to conform to the dominant culture abhorrent, but I think a graduated response to this type of thing would be reasonable. But that’s something for courts to decide in this wildly hypothetical reality we’re talking about.

          1. “just to conform to the dominant culture”

            And it’s fun. With fun traditions. Like presents and chocolate. Because not everything has to be a grinding march of cold-eyed rationalism.

  11. “dinosaurs and humans were definitely on the earth at the same time,”They were on earth at the same time, just in different stages of decomposition.

    1.  Actually, my girlfriend just let one go last week after nursing it back to health; she found on her dog’s walkies route with a cat’s paw-shaped divot taken out of its left wing feathers.

  12. I keep having to repeat this.  Given the increasingly popular scientific opinion that birds are most properly considered to be a surviving clade of dinosaurs, we’re obliged to drop the assertion that those who believe that humans and dinosaurs (defined broadly) coexisted are rejecting mainstream science.  Humans and dinosaurs coexisted, and still do, at least for certain definitions of dinosaur.

    1. And certain definitions of human?

      Wouldn’t that be a little anti-creationist? To define a human in any other way than the definition accepted by the theology?

    2. These people do not believe birds evolved from dinosaurs.  They believe all species (they’ll say “kinds” or “baramins”) were separately created.  So your argument, while technically correct, does not apply to the position of those who believe in special creation.

      It’s a flawed argument anyway.  By the same logic that all birds are dinosaurs, all mammals (and birds and dinosaurs and fish and…) are also worms.  It makes more sense to distinguish birds from dinosaurs than it does to not make the distinction.

      1. Hell, go back far enough, and we’re all the same single-celled organism anyway. To me, that’s way cooler than riding dinosaurs.

        1. Yes, it is absolutely cool.  But when I’m trying to describe what I had for dinner, saying my entree was “dinosaur” and my salad consisted of “eight different varieties of cyanobacteria” is misleading and perhaps even a little confusing. But very, very cool.

          1. “Honey, what would you like for dinner?”
            “How about a heaping plate of nonspecific lifeforms!”

      2. It makes more sense to distinguish birds from dinosaurs than it does to not make the distinction.

        Yes, but now you’re supposed to use a longer name like “non-avian dinosaurs”, so you can pretend you don’t understand why you’re distinguishing them.

  13. Pfft! Of course dragons are real, or at least were. St George killed one! Right? QED.

    We tend to be a bit short on dragon slaying saints these days, that’s why we don’t have any dragons anymore.

    1. Yes, St. George killed a dragon, and there were snakes in Ireland before St. Patrick drove them out.

      Although I think the real reason we’ve seen a decline in dragons these days is because of a shortage of virgins.

    1. Western society? It’s not even normal for the US., which has some darn good museums for all the above.

      And most of the claims quoted would make most people back of slowly over here, due to the misbelief that insanity can be transferred via cooties.

      1. LOL

        What I mean is, these stories seem to be more prevalent, not less, and not just the USA, we have been infected with “intelligent design” idiocy in the UK as well lately.

        It seems to me that in the same week NASA lands a freakin awesome probe on Mars, the society at large (possibly mass generalisation but then who knows these days..) is moving us back towards some sort of dark age….

        It really worries me now more than ever because we will need big science in the next 20-30 years, and if we are teaching a lot of our kids this excrement, what chance do we have not only to increase the IQ of society, but to save our species.

        In the UK I would be duty bound to write a strongly worded yet polite letter to my MP to complain about this, I hope you guys over there can do something similar….

  14. While we’re on the subject of Louisiana’s publicly funded charter schools—guess what kind of tests many students are now forced to take?

    That’s right! It’s a pregnancy test. And depending on how you do on said test, you can get kicked out of school! Which is probably totally legal and non-sexist and non-discriminatory and non-invasive and very very Constitutional.

  15. All of this is depressing to read, but I don’t think I’m making a false equivalency if I point out that my public school history textbooks were also filled with propaganda and nonsense.  The propaganda and nonsense may not have been tilted in the direction of indoctrinating me into a dystopic theocracy, but it was certainly presented with the hopes that I might support a status quo in this country. 

    The unintended side-effect of filling textbooks with nonsense is that they become even more agonizingly dull for schoolchildren to read.  Really.

    1. you’re actually right.  at the least, PLENTY of textbooks over the decades have some serious omissions.  cleverly placed omissions..
      hell, there are plenty of us who are old enough to remember when they were still teaching that columbus discovered america, but sort of not really..

    2. That’s true.  People forget that the point of a publicly funded education in the first place was to indoctrinate people into citizenship of a particular nation, as well as creating a good workforce for a industrial economy. But the world is changing enough that we are currently in the midst of a major overhaul in what we think an education is all about. Stuff like this I think reveals just how big the disagreements are over what a public education should be about. But either way, it’s still about education as indoctrination. This is true even if you agree with the indoctrination. 

    3. Actually, that’s an intended side effect of filling textbooks with nonsense.  When kids read on their own they not only learn things that aren’t in the curriculum.  They learn that they can teach themselves instead of relying on teachers and that this is more fun and more effective than school.  And you’re absolutely right that the public schools’ curriculum is to indoctrinate students into the status quo of US civil society.

      But charter schools take everything that’s wrong with public schools and drop the very few things that are right with them.

      1. I agree with most of that, but I would just put the word “some” before “charter schools,” since not all (or most?) charter schools are bad schools.  Like public schools, charters are only as bad as the individuals running them.

        1.  Actually, I think it’s the institutional structure of public schools and moreso charter schools that make them bad, not the work of the individuals running them.  I actually think the vast majority of teachers do their jobs in good faith but are put in an impossible position where they can’t actually accomplish what they think they are there to do (teach children).

          This is a relatively controversial opinion.  It’s where I really veer off liberal orthodoxy and into the libertarian hinterlands.

          1. I agree with this 100%.  Even the very best public schools fail a large percentage of students because they’re incapable of addressing the natural diversity of needs, interests, and learning styles of the individuals they serve.

            That’s why something like this is so important and should be a model for a new kind of flexibility in schooling.


  16. Hello from London.  (That’s in England, which is in Europe, which is where you get to if keep going beyond New York City).  You’re schooling system is awesome.  You really deserve to be the most powerful country in the world.  Well done.  Keep fightin’ those wars.  You’re good at that too.

    1. When making fun of other people’s ignorance, it’s a good idea to check “you’re” grammar.

    2. If you were from anywhere other than England this would come off as something other than snarky sour grapes. Remember when Britain was good at all these same things? And colonization!

    3. I’m confused.  I was under the impression that they still spoke English in “you’re” country.  Is this not the case?

  17. Remind me never to hire anybody who grew up in Louisiana. Sorry guys, but you voted yourselves in the foot.

  18. And this is why I don’t like to associate with people near where I live.

    Also, it gets worse.  Just last night my brother was mentioning how one of the Charter schools not too far off from here has it in their code book where they can force a girl to have a pregnancy test if they suspect she might be pregnant, and if she is will be expelled.  This also applies if she refuses the test.

    So, basically, if someone rapes a girl, they can force her to be tested for being pregnant and if she refuses, she gets expelled, if she is, she gets expelled, and because of where we are, she will most likely end up having to keep the baby…

    This is why I hate where I live…

    1.  Hmmmm…..I see a future plot to eliminate the likely valedictorian and take over the top spot for graduation!

      Although a top spot a school like that would not be such a big deal I suppose.

  19. While I agree that what they’re teaching at these particular schools is completely nuts, these are the schools the parents chose to send their children to. Some parents, who are probably homeschooling their children currently, may now send their kids to other nutty schools like this. It’s not like the state is forcing *your* kids to go to the school full of nutters. I think it’s important to point out the horrendous lack of education some of these schools will offer and bring light to it. Pretending that other private schools in Louisiana are all this way and are incapable of offering a good education is a fallacy of composition based on those who can’t get over their own planned state ideology.

  20. I’m a teacher in Canada, and if I tried to teach any of this I would probably lose my license, as the Supreme Court has upheld the rights of children to be free from biased information, specifically religious beliefs 
    Supreme Court ruled the Crown could intervene in homeschooling if it felt the children were not being given adequate education 
    Teachers are not permitted to bring religious or prejudiced rhetoric in the classroom 
    Limits of Freedom of Speech to prevent racist groups from spreading slander

    I’m aware of the irony of citing Wikipedia, but it is fact checked and really demonstrates the huge differences: If I were to teach or act in the manner asked of teachers in many States, I would lose my license and be barred from teaching

    1. I wish I could join you in lauding the situation in Canada BUT we, in Toronto (in Canada) maintain a publicly funded *Catholic* school board, which *does* include religious instruction.  Moreover, to teach in the Catholic school board one must provide proof of being of good faith (ie a letter from a priest).

      I do not think that the TCDSB teaches complete nonsense, but they certainly do teach religion and they have been embroiled in several recent controversies on account of their desire to uphold particular “religious” values — banning certain works of literature, forbidding gay-straight alliances, etc…

      Sure, overall Canada has a better public school system than the States, but that is a pretty low bar.  There is room for improvement, eh?

  21. I forget that some people find this stuff unusual…. I grew up in rural Kansas, had this and similar stuff shoved down my throat for a long time, mostly by the backwater church I went to when I was young.  Doesn’t seem so crazy when you’re 5 years old and everyone else in your small town believes it too.

  22. Mark Twain is regularly maligned by the rigidly religious. Actually, Twain knew the Old and New Testaments inside and out. Before becoming a writer, he had wanted to be a preacher but could not find the necessary faith, which he called “believing what you know ain’t so.” Twain wrote “Letters From the Earth” to give his controversial view of the bible and Christian beliefs, but his only surviving daughter, Clara, suppressed its publication until 1962 — more than five decades after his death. You can hear the free audio of it at 

  23. Sure, this is terrible stuff to officially teach in a publicly funded school (or any school really). No question. But I am quite sure that a lot of similar bullshit is taught in some schools that use textbooks from more reputable publishers — ultimately it is what the teacher tells the students, far more than what the book says, that sticks. And a lot of Americans believe a lot of ignorant mumbo-jumbo. Unfortunately.

  24.  Jindal is simply trying to cover his ass in the face of “No Child Left Behind” laws–something pushed through by GWB. I taught public school in LA for 30 years (maths, not psuedo-science.) Every change proposed, local as well as national, was for the worse–against common sense. Humans and dinosaurs co-existing?!! Really!! Do you also think we float to work on canoes fighting alligators all the way?  Teachers here are required to have university degrees. Did God use evolution to create mankind? IDK. What hubris to say yes or no. I belong to a small Baptist church. We try to help ourselves and others–not tell others what to think. But I know that if we ever saw a “pastor” sharpening his shaft or staff or arrow or whatever, we would kick his balls back where they belong and he would not walk straight again.

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