Remember the voucher system in Louisiana that provided state funding for private creationist schools? Back in 2012 we posted Stop Governor Jindal’s Creationist Voucher Program. There was a court case to challenge it on a rather technical point, and that case was successful. When we posted Louisiana Creationist Voucher Funding — Dead, we said:
[I]t was a technical decision based on the specific wording of a funding statute, and it wasn’t based on any principled objection to the state’s funding of private creationist schools. That means the state is still free to pay for such insanity.
It appears that the state has found another way to fund private creationism schools. Thanks to one of our clandestine operatives — code named Bayou Boy — we were alerted to a column which appears in The Advocate of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It was written by James Gill, and Wikipedia has a brief article on him.
Gill’s column is titled Voucher program not living up to promises. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Imagine if the law required voucher schools to be “academically acceptable,” as the legislative auditor has recommended.
By any rational standard, that would rule out all schools that tell kids evolution is a lie. A lot of the schools wouldn’t make the cut, because vouchers have been a godsend to the fundamentalists. Kids transferred out of failing public schools often end up in church schools that banish science in favor of creationist fantasy. It is their proudest boast.
Whoa — a rational column in Louisiana! That means we can’t be our usual Curmudgeonly self as we discuss it. Instead, we’ll only give you the informative parts, with some of Gill’s choice phrases. Let’s read on:
Take, for instance, what its handbook describes as the “Bible-centered curriculum” at the Bishop McManus Academy in eastern New Orleans. That somewhat grand moniker notwithstanding, this is not exactly a seat of learning.
In the handbook, the folks at Bishop McManus describe with great relish the fate that awaits sinners. “We believe that the fearful, unbelieving, abominable, whoremongers, sorcerers, idolators and liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone which is the second death.” They got so excited writing that they lost count of the commas.
What a school! Here’s their website: Bishop McManus Academy. Do the kids call it “BM Academy”? Probably not — it would be sinful. No reason why the state shouldn’t provide funding for a great place like that.
Here’s a link to where you can download their wonderful handbook. The lake of fire stuff is on page 5. But that link may not be good for very long. When creationist schools are exposed like this, they often scrub their most outrageous material. Gill continues:
So long as such notions are promulgated at public expense, it is no surprise that voucher kids are prescribed textbooks published by Bob Jones University and other institutions that maintain God created the earth in six days a few thousand years ago.
Way to go Bishop McManus Academy! Teach those kiddies The Truth™. Here’s more from Gill’s column:
It is true that the heresy of creationism can sometimes crop up in the public schools, where biology teachers are permitted to introduce “supplemental materials,” to use the statutory euphemism for propaganda approved by the zealots of the Family Forum. But only voucher schools start off solidly opposed to evolution as a matter of official policy.
“The heresy of creationism”? It would be delightful if ol’ Hambo were to write something about this. Earlier in the column, Gill told us:
[Bishop McManus Academy] was one of seven schools banned earlier this year from accepting any more voucher students because they had done such a lousy job with the ones they had, who were nevertheless left in place.
Later he says:
[F]or three consecutive years, less than 25 percent of the school’s voucher students met the undemanding standard of “proficient” in standardized tests before the supply was cut off.
No one in Louisiana cares. As long as they’re creationists, nothing else matters. One more excerpt:
Clearly, if voucher schools had to be “academically acceptable,” Bishop McManus would not have been admitted in the first place. Neither would Lord knows how many others. The program is clearly failing to deliver on its supporters’ promises of an educational turnaround.
There are always nay-sayers like Gill. Nevertheless, we have no doubt that the people of Louisiana are pleased with the situation, and they want to keep things just the way they are.
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