Home > Essays > Public Funds Pay for Religious Schools That Teach Bogus Science, History, Theology… and “White Centric” Ideology

Public Funds Pay for Religious Schools That Teach Bogus Science, History, Theology… and “White Centric” Ideology

May 6, 2021

Derrick Black and Rebecca Holcombe wrote an op ed for USA Today describing how public funds are now being used to “educate” children in religious schools who teach bogus science, history, and theology. How so? Several states have created systems whereby parents are given de facto vouchers to enroll their children in whatever schools they choose— including religiously affiliated schools who offer instruction that is anti-science and, in some cases, racist. Here’s a paragraph from their essay that offers some specific examples: 

Far too many of these schools also use textbooks that routinely espouse anti-science and white-centric ideology. For instance, as the Orlando Sentinel reported, some Florida voucher schools teach students that dinosaurs and humans lived together, that God’s intervention prevented Catholics from dominating North America, that slaves who knew Jesus Christ were better off than free men who did not, and that most Black and white Southerners lived in harmony until power-hungry agitators stirred up conflict. 

While the GOP rails against the 1619 curriculum that interprets historic facts differently, they advocate for school choice that would use public funds to promote the teaching of history that is untethered from facts and, as the example above indicates, racist. Worse, once public funds are dedicated to the tuition for these children, Mr. Brown and Ms. Holcombe foresee the day when these funds would be used to upgrade the facilities. But they also note that the direction charter advocates are headed is not a direction the public supports: 

This choice movement may wrap itself in the rhetoric of meeting individual students’ needs and giving them the same opportunities as wealthy students, but unregulated vouchers and public religious charter schools would subvert the overall public will to the whims of an ideological minority.

The saving grace is that an overwhelming majority of families and taxpayers have no interest in this bizarre education world. And if courts and advocates push them there, only one rational choice remains: End charter schools and publicly financed private school tuition altogether.

I find it hard to believe that the Catholic church hierarchy would argue on behalf of funding schools who teach that “God’s intervention prevented Catholics from dominating North America” and cannot believe the leadership of any mainline denomination would advocate funding schools that promote the idea that slavery was ever acceptable and dinosaurs and humans lived together in the world. Maybe the day will come when religious leaders will speak out on behalf of science, mainstream theology, and democracy. If they do so, maybe the whims of the ideological minority that now controls “school choice” will no longer be honored. 


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  1. Byron Knutsen
    May 7, 2021 at 2:55 am

    No teacher of any subject in any district I have taught in (Illinois, Washington State, Guam, Western Samoa, Utah and Idaho) would think of teaching what is described in this article. We have too much respect for the students to engage in such practices. BUT, I do know that there are bad apples in every profession, who lean too far left or right, who are dishonest in their duty. AND, there are those who report data, as in this article, that has no information like the sentence found above in the quoted article

    “For instance, as the Orlando Sentinel reported, some Florida voucher schools teach…”

    Question: How many is the word some indicate? Why not tell us how many? Too much effort to figure out or is it too few to mention with out being laughed at? Once again we see all the more reasons that we need universal testing, because bad schools like this will shine out as a dud. I can not imagine real parents sending their children to that type of school unless they as parents are not doing their homework.

    One day my son came home when he was a sophomore and announced he was first in school in the discus and wanted to know what I thought. We talked for a while and he came to realize that when your are the best out of two or three people, in one community, you are not much at that level. He then decided that he would be one of the 5 persons who would stand on the podium at the state track meet before he graduated. He stood on the ground beside the podium for sixth place once and on the podium once for second place. He made his goal/.

    When we report something directly or by extraction, let us use real quantifying data not the word “some” or others like it. Unfortunately, too many like to hide date and the words like “some, many, few, a scattering etc” are used instead . I would agree that even ONE person is too many when this type of teaching is done.

    And I know that universal testing is good IF the test makers are in the real world of learning.

    Byron Knutsen

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