School Choice of Fact

Yesterday, I noted that school privatization brings with it a number of unintended–and unfortunate–incentives. In Ohio, those incentives were financial; the Ohio Superintendent forced to resign was gaming the system for money.

Today’s lesson, children, centers upon a different incentive: the opportunity for proselytization. Welcome to Bobby Jindal’s Louisiana.  

Mother Jones reports on Jindal’s sweeping voucher program, which has received glowing reports from advocates of school choice and privatization. There is no doubt that Louisiana schools are in need of dramatic reform, but as the article notes, the state is poised to spend billions of tax dollars with virtually no accountability.

The early result? Of the 119 private schools participating in the program, at least 19 teach creationism in lieu of science, and substitute religious dogma for documented history.

These schools rely on textbooks and curricula produced by Bob Jones University. (The texts are quoted and referenced in the article available at the hyperlink.) They teach bible-based “facts,” including:

Dinosaurs and humans were on earth at the same time.

God used the Trail of Tears to bring Indians to Christ.

Most slave masters “treated their slaves well.”

In some areas of the country the KKK “tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross. Klan targets were bootleggers, wife-beaters and immoral movies.”

Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath was part of a propaganda campaign to make the Depression sound worse than it was.

If rejection of science and rewritten history aren’t your thing, the schools also teach law (“Ignoring 3,500 years of Judeo-Christian civilization, religion, morality and law, the Burger Court held that an unborn child was not a living person…”) and literature (“Mark Twain’s outlook was both self-centered and ultimately hopeless”…Emily Dickenson’s poems “show a presumptuous attitude concerning her eternal destiny…she never accepted [the bible] as an inerrant guide to life.”)

Louisiana tax dollars at work.

I’d worry about this more, but global climate change is a sign that the Rapture is imminent…..


  1. Whatever is being taught in these voucher schools; I deeply resent my tax dollars, meant to support and improve public education, being used to send students to schools of their (or their parent’s) choice. Every tax dollar take from public education system lessens the chance for improving the system and providing quality education for all. Let those parents not satisfied with public education pay tuition. Most voucher schools are religion based which violates separation of church and state, do voucher parents fully undestand what their children are being taught…do they care or is this a status symbol for them.

  2. You’ve performed a public service. Folks become concerned about vouchers when they learn what some of the schools are teaching.

    Christians, Jews, and Muslims have many similarities, but their differences have caused more wars and loss of life than any other single cause.

    Our founding fathers knew this and wisely wrote a constitution to avoid such wars here.

    Today’s policymakers have taken leave of that history and wisdom to launder taxpayer aid to religious schools through vouchers. To paraphrase a former Supreme Court Justice, if it’s unconstitutional to do it directly, then it’s unconstitutional to do it indirectly.

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