33 Jaw-Droppingly Stupid Multiple-Choice Questions from the Christian Education Curriculum

This is what happens when you leave education to people for whom religious conversion is everything and learning is a distant afterthought.

Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) is a fundamentalist curriculum founded in Texas in 1970. It started as a program for private Christian day schools, but it has been hugely successful among conservative home schoolers. Today, ACE claims it is used in “6,000 schools and thousands of home educators in over 140 countries.” It’s also used in government-funded voucher programs in several US states.

ACE has always taken its fundamentalism very seriously. In his 1979 book Rebirth of Our Nation ACE’s founder Donald Howard wrote, “Fundamentalism is intellectually sound. It has always prevailed in periods of great intellectual enlightenment. It is the only sound an logical solution to the existence of the universe… I am a fundamentalist. If I can be any more fundamental than fundamental, that is what I want to be.” Today, ACE views imparting these fundamental beliefs into children as its primary purpose.

Howard later wrote “We do not build Christian schools primarily to give a child the best education nor to teach him how to make a good living. Teaching him how to live and to love and serve God are our primary tasks.”

He wasn’t kidding. 

I went to an ACE school for almost four years. By the time I left, I was certain that it was against God's will for governments to provide healthcare, evolution was a conspiracy to destroy Christianity, parents were morally required to spank their children, and science could prove that homosexuality was wrong. But worst of all was the feeling uneducated; I still struggle with self-conscious fears about gaps in my learning. ACE workbooks consist of simplistic fill-in-the-blank and multiple choice questions. And these questions are often hilariously, spectacularly bad.

4th grade (9-10 years old)

Science 1045 4th ed tasty milk

Science 1047 fish skin

Science 1047 celsius bible

Science 1045 a brown car

Science 1048 cookies

But no special women, obviously.

They’re particularly strong when it comes to people…

Science 1048 Franceso Redi

Science 1048 Louis Pasteur

Social Studies 1046 4th ed 4

SS 1047 counsel

Social Studies 1045 4th Ed Dry ducks
Two. Dry. Ducks.

Social Studies 1046 4th ed 3

There’s a bloody picture!

Social Studies 1046 donkey supplies

7th grade (12-13 years old)SS 1073 4th ed Journalism

SS 1074 worship leaders

SS 1075 touch lives piano tutor

IMPORTANT: The correct answer, for those puzzled, is piano tutors. It’s not that ACE doesn’t believe that sports coaches or librarians can touch students’ lives. The point is that the exact sentence “Piano tutors can touch the lives of their students” has previously appeared in the PACE, and the student is expected to remember this. Verbatim regurgitation of previously seen material is the entire point of the ACE system.

SS1077 4th ed coast guard

SS 1076 homemaker

ACE never uses female pronouns in PACEs. Everyone is male… until they start talking about homemakers.

SS 1076 doctor

9th grade (14-15 years old)

SS106 Darwin's book

The title is actually On the Origin of Species…

From a history PACE on the discovery and colonisation of America:

SS 104 Lief Eriksen

SS 103 man or god

SS 99 alphabet FUCK

SS 105 Bloody Mary

SS99 Socrates

SS 107 Jimmy Carter

SS 107 Mohammed Ali

Biology 1107 hitler

Ah, the old Darwin-caused-Hitler implication again.

12th grade (17-18 years old)English 1135 soliloquy

English 1135 Macbeth

Um, I might have been getting a bit irritated by the time I got to that last one.

I found plenty more 12th grade questions with no plausible distractors, but none of them made me laugh. Stuff like this:

Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 12.13.00

Mind you, by this point, it’s all starting to seem less funny.

Jonny Scaramanga is a PhD student at the Institute of Education, University of London. He is writing a memoir about growing up fundamentalist. He blogs at Leaving Fundamentalism.

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