Wednesday, April 09, 2014

More on Vouchers

One of my readers pointed out that, as much as I castigate politicians such as Paul Broun, who has publicly stated that evolutionary and big bang theories are “lies straight from the pit of hell,” they don't get into the offices they hold without the votes of the people.  That someone such as Broun can rise to hold a position on a science and technology committee is truly astounding, in and of itself and points to gaping holes in our selection processes.  But, back to the people.  Politico is the latest outlet to run a story on the controversial voucher programs being run by an increasing number of states.  Stephanie Simon writes:
One set of books popular in Christian schools calls evolution “a wicked and vain philosophy.” Another derides “modern math theorists” who fail to view mathematics as absolute laws ordained by God. The publisher notes that its textbooks shun “modern” breakthroughs — even those, like set theory, developed back in the 19th century. Math teachers often set aside time each week — even in geometry and algebra — to explore numbers in the Bible. Students learn vocabulary with sentences like, “Many scientists today are Creationists.”
I am assuming that the information being disseminated here comes from the Creationist Voucher Database, compiled by Zack Kopplin, which is a great resource.  Tennessee currently does not have a voucher program but it is being promoted in the state house even as we speak.  Ms. Simon remarks that the voucher support program is very well-organized:
They’ve spent heavily to campaign for sympathetic lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans — often targeting primary races to knock out anti-voucher candidates early. They’ve staged rallies packed with cheering families. They’ve funded local advocacy groups such as North Carolina Citizens for Educational Freedom and Hoosiers for Economic Growth. And they’ve worked closely with black ministers to boost demand for vouchers in African-American neighborhoods.
Wanting a better education for your kids is a noble idea, and if you think your kids are getting an education that is not only bad but reflects world views that are distinctly not yours, then you need to act.  There are schools that promote a Christian world view but still teach good science.  There are also curricula that are oriented this way.  But they swim against the tide.

The principle problem is one of the tragic failures of modern evangelical fundamentalism: that modern science can conflict with scripture and that, as a result, it is to be either regarded skeptically or, worse, dismissed altogether.  How did we get here? 

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