Stories pop up in the news about misguided school curriculum in America; for the most part I dismiss them as isolated cases on a slow news day. As a Canadian, I suppose it just seems too preposterous for educators to push bibles or deny evolution. Sure, you can send your kids to Catholic schools, or enrol them in any number of private institutions – that said; in most Canadian provinces evangelical and private schools are obligated by law to teach evolution and LGBT rights. Under no circumstance imaginable would publicly funded schools be allowed to stray from an open minded curriculum.
When I heard about Louisiana’s Voucher School Program, I started to ponder. It may be my age as the story that peaked my interest reported these schools teaching “hippies” were dirty, draft dodging, immoral, Satan worshippers. I grew up on the Vietnam war, remember the Kent State riots, and wore a flower or two in my hair – this did not sit well. The following is a page from the book America:The Land I Love, used as an 8th grade history textbook in Louisiana voucher schools.
My decision to learn more about voucher schools didn’t make me any happier. In a nutshell the program is the brain child of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. He publicly defends his “education reforms” as a chance to help poor and under privileged students receive a better education. Low income families can apply to the state for a “voucher” that will cover the cost of enrolment in participating private schools. In January District Court Judge Timothy Kelley ruled the program unconstitutional, as it used money intended for public schools. The case is under appeal, and the program continues.
So what’s the big deal, aside from the dirty hippy reference and questionable use of public funds? Ponder some of the other gems in the voucher school curriculum.
The KKK was a “force of good”, most slaves were treated well, dinosaurs and man lived at the same time, and fire breathing dragons may actually have existed. The link below to Mother Jones has a list of knee slapping jaw droppers Louisiana believes well educated children need to know.
I can’t decide whether to laugh or scream. Oh Louisiana – there must be a better way.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal