by David Safier
Louisiana has chosen 119 private schools to participate in its new voucher program. The state superintendent won't say how they were chosen. Let me restate that. He hasn't said how the schools were chosen yet. He plans to release the documents sometime in September, after students are enrolled in the schools.
According to Talking Points Memo, 99% of the private schools are religious, far higher than the national private school average of 70-80% (It's important to keep in mind, most government-funded school vouchers -- and Tuition Tax Credits -- pay for religious education).
Creationism, of course, is a part of many of the schools' curricula.
For example, a handbook for Ascension Christian High School, posted online, declares among the goals of "Household of Faith Schools" that "the learner will be expected to defend creationism through evidence presented by the Bible versus traditional scientific theory."
The website [of Northlake Christian High School] contradicts fossil evidence of millions of years of life on the planet, calling it incompatible with the Bible. Meanwhile, the school's doctrinal statement says Northlake Christian — which will get $375,000 in state-funded tuition payments for its high school and elementary school — promotes "the creation of man by the direct act of God."
You can read a litany of the teachings found in some of the schools in a Mother Jones article, including:
"God used the Trail of Tears to bring many Indians to Christ."
"Slave masters were nice guys."
"The KKK was A-OK."
"Gay people 'have no more claims to special rights than child molesters or rapists."'
And then there's the Light City Christian Academy which, according to Talking Points Memo, is "the only [school] helmed by a man who says he 'wears the mantle of an Apostle and Prophet.'”
ARIZONA NOTE: So far as I know, no state screening is required for Arizona private schools to be included in the vouchers-on-steroids Empowerment Scholarship Accounts or in the backdoor-voucher Tuition Tax Credit program, other than they cannot discriminate on the basis of race, color or national origin (I guess that means discriminating based on religion is OK). I don't know of anyone who has peeked inside the curriculum or texts used at the various private schools paid for directly and/or indirectly by taxpayer dollars. It would make an interesting study for some eager college education student.