Louisiana’s Creationist Voucher School Program

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.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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20 responses to “Louisiana’s Creationist Voucher School Program

  1. Page 6… Some fine crazy on show there, too

    PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE CHRISTIAN FLAG
    I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag, and to the Savior for whose Kingdom it stands; One Savior, crucified, risen and coming again with life and liberty for all who believe.
    PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE BIBLE
    I pledge allegiance to the Bible, God’s Holy Word. I will make it a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path and I will hide its Word in my heart that I might not sin against God.

  2. john zande says: “Page 6… Some fine crazy on show there, too”

    That’s how it is at BM Academy.

  3. john zande usefully provides some chilling quotes from the BM Academy’s ‘Pledge of Allegiance to the Bible’, which includes a promise to make the Bible

    a lamp unto my feet

    I’m struggling to parse that one. I seem to recollect that ‘dogs’ is archaic American slang for ‘feet’ (as in, to express weariness, “My dogs are killing me!”), so do the students of the BM Academy have seeing eye dogs?

    Pretty spooky, whatever they have in mind…

  4. “We believe that speaking in tongues as the Spirit gives utterance is the initial physical sign of the Holy Spirit baptism and that all believers may receive this new spirit.”

    Nothing like preparing the kiddies for the challenges brought on by the new global economy, I might add, all at the taxpayer’s expense.

  5. Those pledges on page 6 are in a section on “Christian Americanism”, which also tells us: “We unashamedly teach the Biblical doctrines of self-discipline, respect for those in authority, obedience to law, and the love for flag and country.” I wonder about where they find such doctrines in the Bible, most especially “love for flag and country”. I thought that the Bible taught two loves: love for God and love for one’s neighbor.

  6. Unfortunately neither the Louisiana legislators nor the Family Forum no all the homeschoolers nor all the Christian academies care one whit about education. All they care about is getting re-elected, attracting donations and spreading their uneducated version of the “Gospel,” whatever they think that is. Then they send their broken kids out into the world where, literally, they don’t have a prayer competing against reality-based students. They are lambs to the slaughter.

    Louisiana: Raising a New Generation for the B Ark

  7. “It would be delightful if ol’ Hambo were to write something about this.”
    Irresistable for a nasty guy like me. I just contacted him via his site AIG.

  8. From page 10:
    “Upon acceptance into the Academy, parents will be notified of the date of Parent Orientation. It is mandatory that both parents attend.” (Emphasis theirs — in fact, they underline the bold as well.)

    No mention of exceptions for children of divorced, deadbeat, or deceased parents, or those serving overseas. Seems a bit discriminatory, don’t you think? Of course, this policy would also exclude any little bastards who don’t know who their father is. Maybe that’s BM Academy’s intent. And they’re accepting public money!

  9. BM Academy! I really like that name. Does that mean that the place isn’t worth s**t. I’m so embarrassed to live in a state that puts up with this kind of crap. I guess being number one in crap is better than not being number one in anything. Ha! Ha!

    This is my 36th year of educating Louisiana college students in cell and molecular biology and in evolution. Even if they don’t believe it, they still had to learn it.

  10. I downloaded their handbook, thanks to the instructions from our Curmudgeon. Since there is a possibility that they have some supporters who can actually read, one of them may find the ridicule of their beloved BM Academy and pull the handbook and its madness from public view. Thanks to Bobby the exorcist Jindal, these kinds of schools will keep spitting out illiterate drones who might be employable at the grease rack or car wash.

  11. Stephen Kennedy

    “We believe that speaking in tongues as the Spirit gives utterance is the initial physical sign of the Holy Spirit baptism and that all believers may receive this new spirit.”

    I wonder if snake handling is also part of the curriculum?

  12. Biokid, Louisianans doesn’t just “put up with this crap”, they wallow in it. I’m amazed that you have survived and maintained any sanity teaching in a state that so revels in and celebrates ignorance. In the education race to the bottom, Louisiana is a pack leader. Unfortunately, I live in Texas, which is right there with Louisiana in the pack of creationist fools.

  13. Waldteufel observes, “…these kinds of schools will keep spitting out illiterate drones who might be employable at the grease rack or car wash.”

    We should add to that list future Louisiana lawyers, insurance salesmen, and politicians.

  14. Ah, Bobby Jindal’s state, home of the man who hopes to be a 2016 presidential candidate. He lost out for the VP spot in 2012 to an equally empty headed Palin. Perhaps we could refer to him as BM Jindal.

  15. Readers may not know just how bad the Bob Jones textbooks are. Here is some of what they say:

    Satan wants people to believe in evolution. This is probably the main reason that evolution is so popular. Evolution relies on processes that cannot be observed, therefore it isn’t a scientific theory but depends on faith. The theory of biological evolution is not true because it contradicts the Bible. Many people believe in the evolutionary theory because they feel it eliminates God and lets them do what they want. Evolutionists are constantly finding evidence that runs counter to their claims, but discard it because of bias. The Flood is a better explanation of the fossil record than evolution. Missing links and common ancestors are absent from the fossil record because these organisms never existed. Sedimentary rock strata are the result of the Flood. Carbon-14 is formed in the upper atmosphere, but settles in the lower due to its increased density. Most dating techniques indicate that the earth is young, not millions of years old. Radiometric dating involves so much guesswork that it is unreliable. Earth Day is the Festival of a false god; but a Christian must be confident that the God who made the world is able to maintain it. And much more in the same vein.

    I give chapter and verse, or at any rate textbook and page number) references, in my piece “Credit where none is due; creationist colleges and courses”: http://wp.me/p21T1L-9S . Specifically,

    Satan … popular; Life Science for Christian Schools, 2nd ed., 1999 (LSCS) 161. Evolution … faith; LSCS 22. The … Bible; LSCS 146. Many people … want; LSCS 133. Evolutionists … bias; The Physical World etc. for Christian Schools, 2000 (PWCS) 12. The Flood … existed; LSCS 150. Sedimentary … old; Earth Science for Christian Schools, 2nd ed., 1999 (ESCS) 261, 265-6. Radiometric dating … unreliable; LSCS 159, PWCS 125, ESCS 269. Earth Day … maintain it. Science 6 for Christian Schools 236.

  16. Thanks, PaulB. It’s heartwarming for an atheist like me to notice that Bob Jones like christians actually are polytheists: “Satan wants people to believe …”

  17. There is the “evolutionary argument against naturalism” which attempts to show that, given evolution, there is no guarantee for our true beliefs. If Satan wants people to believe lies, doesn’t that mean that non-naturalism is also inadequate to the task of guaranteeing true beliefs?

  18. Dorian Mattar

    So who do we contact to change this?

  19. Try Glenn Branch or Steve Newton at NCSE?

  20. DavidK: “He lost out for the VP spot in 2012 to an equally empty headed Palin.”

    Palin was McCain’s running mate in 2008. Paul Ryan was Romney’s VP choice in 2012.