Nearly $1 billion in public funds in 14 states will be handed over to private schools this year, including some with anti-science curriculums that show a “distrust of momentous discoveries and hostility toward mainstream scientists,” according to a new report.
In an exposé Politico contributor Stephanie Simon reviewed hundreds of course outlines and textbooks for private schools that are receiving public subsidies.
Simon wrote that “many of these faith-based schools go beyond teaching the biblical story of the six days of creation as literal fact.”
“Their course materials nurture disdain of the secular world, distrust of momentous discoveries and hostility toward mainstream scientists,” Simon says. “They often distort basic facts about the scientific method — teaching, for instance, that theories such as evolution are by definition highly speculative because they haven’t been elevated to the status of ‘scientific law.’”
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One set of books reportedly calls evolution “a wicked and vain philosophy,” another criticizes “modern math theorists” for failing to view math as absolute laws ordained by Christ.
Some math courses at these schools include weekly study of numbers found in the Bible and vocabulary quizzes with statements like, “Many scientists today are Creationist.”
Voucher programs essentially allow students with promising grades to leave public education and take taxpayer funds with them to a private institution.
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 26 states are considering new voucher programs or expansions to their existing one.
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About 250,000 students are on vouchers and tax-credit scholarships right now. Another 55 million students are still enrolled in public education.
Bill Nye the Science Guy, who debated Creation Museum founder Ken Ham in February, warns that bringing non-science into the science classroom will stifle a generation of technological innovation.
“If we raise a generation of students (that is) scientifically illiterate, we’re not going to have the next iPhone, we’re not going to have the next innovation,” Nye argued.
“I don't have an issue with what you do in the church, but I'm going to be up in your face if you're going to knock on my science classroom and tell me they've got to teach what you're teaching in your Sunday school. Because that's when we're going to fight,” said Neil deGrasse Tyson in a 2008 speech.
“I don’t think the function of public education is to prepare students for the turn of the 19th century,” Eric Meikle, project director at the National Center for Science Education, told Politico.