At the moment, the only proper school voucher program in Florida is the McKay Scholarship Program, which caters to special-needs kids. (A proposal for a more general voucher program was struck down in the Legislature six years ago.) But if you've got a nonspecial child, no money, and a burning desire to send your kid to a private school where she'll learn that Darwinism is right next door to Nazism or that dinosaurs were killed off by the Great Flood, then you've got options. (Remember: Whenever God closes a door, He opens a window.)
These options arise primarily thanks to Step Up for Students, which allows Florida corporations to channel money that would otherwise go to taxes into scholarships that work precisely like vouchers. Last year, according to a disturbing story that appeared today at Alternet, $140 million was disbursed through Step Up for Students, along with a few smaller (but very similar) programs. Of the students who take advantage of these funds, three quarters find themselves in schools with a religious bent to their teaching.
Well. Rachel Tabachnik, who wrote the story over at Alternet, has amassed a considerable collection of textbooks from the publishers who serve these private schools. A Beka books in particular, which is the go-to publisher for the hundreds of schools in Florida aligned with fundamentalist Protestantism.
Here is a quote, supplied by Tabachnik, from one of those books re: globalization:
...instead of this world unification ushering in an age of prosperity and peace, as most globalists believe, it will be a time of unimaginable human suffering as recorded in God's Word. The Anti-Christ will tightly regulate who may buy and sell.
Another, re: the Supreme Court:
The Supreme Court made several liberal decisions in the 1970s, indicating the moral decline of the nation as a whole.
And re: Roe v. Wade:
Ignoring 3,500 years of Judeo-Christian civilization, religion, morality, and law, the Burger court held was not a living person, but rather the "property" of the mother (much like slaves were considered property in the 1857 case of Dred Scott v. Sandford).
And re: government:
God's original purpose for government was to punish the evil and reward the good.
And also re: government:
All governments are ordained by God, but none compare to government by God, a theocracy.
A theocracy! Nothing beats it! If that bugs you, you absolutely must read Tabachnik's story. There's tons of this stuff. (And we haven't even started on evolution.) My favorite quote comes not from an A Beka text but from a book from Bob Jones' University Publishing -- A Beka's biggest competitor in the Jesus-crazy textbook biz. That quote concerns slavery and goes like this:
To help them endure the difficulties of slavery, God gave Christian slaves the ability to combine the African heritage of song with the dignity of Christian praise. Through the Negro spiritual, the slaves developed the patience to wait on the Lord and discovered that the truest freedom is from the bondage of sin.
I'd pay good money to see the author try that line on Harriet Tubman. She'd underground-railroad his ass out a window.
I spoke with a nice representative from A Beka who tells me that none of the schools in Broward use their textbooks, which isn't necessarily a sign that all's well with Browardian pedagogy. Calvary Chapel's school, for example, teaches science from textbooks published by, ahem, Purposeful Design.
Some Americans don't want their taxpayer dollars funding abortions. One may disagree with their reasoning, but it's hard not to understand their frustration. Nobody wants to fund an enterprise by which one is morally repulsed. Tabachnik's story raises the question: Is it any less reasonable for the rest of us to take umbrage at the siphoning of taxes to pay for an abortion of education?
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