Ideas are tenacious. No matter how laughably wrong and misguided they prove to be, they hang on and proliferate. This isn’t always a bad thing. It depends on the idea.
This, however, is a bad thing. A very bad thing. Louisiana recently instituted a voucher program that would take public money away from public schools and funnel it to private schools that reject evolution in favor of creationism.
Not this again.
Not only do some of the schools receiving state funds reject evolution. According to the Associated Press, some schools teach that the universe — not the Earth, the universe — is only a few thousand years old. Because, you know, the Bible is the most accurate scientific paper. It was peer-reviewed. By God!
We’re not talking about insubstantial amounts of money. Millions of dollars will be diverted from public schools to schools that openly defy scientific evidence in favor of religious dogma. According to the AP:
College student Zack Kopplin, an outspoken critic of teaching creationism in science classrooms, found at least 19 of the 119 mostly religious schools in the voucher program either promote creationism or teach with curricula from Christian textbook publishers that are known to challenge Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
The schools cited by Kopplin’s research have been approved to take in more than 750 voucher students and receive more than $4 million in taxpayer funding, in the first round of announced voucher assignments for the 2012-13 school year that begins next month.
Four million dollars. Four million dollars that could go to teaching actual science. Four million dollars that could go to opening a child’s mind to the wonderful world around him or her, not closing it to those possibilities by telling them that God did it.
According to the Huffington Post, Gov. Bobby Jindal (who has a biology degree, by the way) says that this voucher program will increase competition and give parents a choice.
Jeez, Gov. Jindal. Choice is only a good thing when you actually have good choices. What is happening here? You have parents with children in failing schools. They want to do what they can to get their kids a better education. What these vouchers do is take money away from schools where a kid might have a poor science education and give money to schools that guarantee it. Not smart.
The big question is, why should anyone outside Louisiana care? According to Slate, Gov. Jindal has recently appeared as Mitt Romney’s education surrogate.
Eep. This just got real for the whole country.
Even if this disgusting display of so-called educational reform doesn’t leave the borders of Louisiana, it’s still something you should care about. These children will go out into the world spouting nonsense because they never even had a chance to learn scientific fact from fantasy. This demeans us all. Sign the petition to get public education dollars out of religious education.
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