Stephanie Simon at here documents the spread of the voucher movement, which shifts $1 billion away from the nation’s public schools to private and religious schools.

Hundreds of these schools teach creationism as written in the Bible and teach other subjects, including history and even mathematics, from a religious and dogmatic perspective.

She writes:

Taxpayers in 14 states will bankroll nearly $1 billion this year in tuition for private schools, including hundreds of religious schools that teach Earth is less than 10,000 years old, Adam and Eve strolled the garden with dinosaurs, and much of modern biology, geology and cosmology is a web of lies.

Now a major push to expand these voucher programs is under way from Alaska to New York, a development that seems certain to sharply increase the investment.

Public debate about science education tends to center on bills like one in Missouri, which would allow public school parents to pull their kids from science class whenever the topic of evolution comes up. But the more striking shift in public policy has flown largely under the radar, as a well-funded political campaign has pushed to open the spigot for tax dollars to flow to private schools. Among them are Bible-based schools that train students to reject and rebut the cornerstones of modern science.

This is what might be called 12th century STEM education.

Simon adds:

Decades of litigation have established that public schools cannot teach creationism or intelligent design. But private schools receiving public subsidies can — and do. A POLITICO review of hundreds of pages of course outlines, textbooks and school websites found that many of these faith-based schools go beyond teaching the biblical story of the six days of creation as literal fact. Their course materials nurture disdain of the secular world, distrust of momentous discoveries and hostility toward mainstream scientists. They often distort basic facts about the scientific method — teaching, for instance, that theories such as evolution are by definition highly speculative because they haven’t been elevated to the status of “scientific law.”

And this approach isn’t confined to high school biology class; it is typically threaded through all grades and all subjects.

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.

Please read the entire article. What it demonstrates is the wisdom of separation of church and state. Sending public dollars to religious schools does not improve education. It sets back education by a millenium, at least.

The kids attending these schools will enter college–if they enter college–unprepared for modern studies. They will not be the scientists, engineers, technicians, and mathematicians prepared for the 21st century. Nor will they have the critical thinking needed to parse the political propaganda of our times.

This is an ideological crusade that has no relationship to improving education.

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