The 'Christian' Dogma Pushed by Religious Schools That Are Supported by Your Tax Dollars
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Islam is also portrayed as a false religion and Hinduism is described as “devastating to India’s history.” Followers of Shintoism are described as being “very similar to the Jewish Pharisees whom Jesus condemned for putting outward cleanliness above inward purity.”
Although the texts repeatedly use the term “Judeo-Christian,” Jews are also considered to be in need of conversion. An ACE text states, “Not realizing that he is already come, Orthodox Jews continue to look for their Messiah. As the end time prophesied in the Bible draws near, many Jews are now turning to Jesus Christ and accepting him as Messiah.”
Non-evangelical and non-fundamentalist Protestant denominations are described as liberal, a dirty word in these texts. Paterson dedicates an entire chapter of her book to examples of anti-Roman Catholic bias, which is taught to students beginning around the fifth grade. Catholicism is described with terms such as "distorted," "false," and "error." A Bob Jones high school text states, “The seed of error that took root during the fourth and fifth centuries blossomed into the Roman Catholic Church -- a perversion of biblical Christianity.”
An A Beka text reads, "The doctrines and practices of the Roman church had digressed so far from Scripture that the church was compelled to keep its members from reading the Bible and discovering the truth." The A Beka text also repeatedly uses the term Romanism, which has pejorative connotations and has been used as a slur against Catholics for generations. It is still used by apocalyptic televangelists, like John Hagee, claiming that “Romanism” is the biblical “Whore of Babylon” in his descriptions of the destruction of Rome and the Catholic Church in the end times.
In a perverse irony, the pro-voucher proponents working to remove the clauses in state constitutions that prevent public funding of religious schools, claim that this must be done because these “no aid” clauses, also known as Blaine Amendments, are a vestige of historic anti-Catholicism.
The worldview of these textbook publishers impact areas you might not suspect, including choosing phonics over whole language reading instruction and rejecting the teaching of set theory in mathematics, both on religious grounds. The A Beka publishers advertise the math curriculum as, “A Beka Book provides attractive, legible, workable traditional mathematics texts that are not burdened with modern theories such as set theory.”
Florida’s Corporate Tax Credit Program: Do They Know What They're Funding?
Florida has the largest “school choice” program in the country, followed by Pennsylvania, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Ohio. Over 54,000 tuition recipients are enrolled in private schools in Florida, with the majority of these students in a corporate tax credit program that allows businesses to divert their taxes, dollar for dollar, up to 75 percent of taxes owed to the state.
Florida currently has a voucher program limited to special-needs students, since the state’s Supreme Court struck down a more expansive program in 2006. The Florida House and Senate have approved a ballot initiative for the 2012 election to try to remove the “no aid” clause in the state’s constitution that would open the door to Gov. Rick Scott’s vouchers-for-all scheme.
Florida’s corporate tax credit program disbursed the full amount allowed last year -- $140 million dollars for tuition to students in 1,092 schools and has a cap of $175 million for 2011. These funds are handed over to private non-profits for distribution, with the vast majority since 2002 disbursed through Step Up for Students, also a recipient of funding from the DeVos family foundations.
This is one of several names used by the Florida School Choice Fund, Inc. a 501(c)(3) headed by John Kirtley, a venture capitalist who is also vice chairman of the Betsy DeVos-led American Federation for Children and a director of the James Madison Institute, one of many right-wing think tanks that promote privatization of public education. (The institute’s founding vice chairman, J. Stanley Marshall, has signed a proclamation calling for the end of public education.)