Today we have another two-part post, this time on fundamentalism in Europe. This post is on fundamentalism in the UK’s Christian “faith schools,” some of which are funded by the state. To those of you in the UK: why are you tolerating government funding of religious indoctrination? Is there no movement against publicly-funded indoctrination of children?
Whoops, I put the rant before the data. Here are some facts about a set of UK Christian schools that are not state-funded (except for the nursery schools, which are), but which provide a substandard, anti-science education that the UK government accepts as equivalent to a secular education.
Some Christian schools (and homeschooling parents) in the UK use a U.S.-devised learning system called “Accelerated Christian Education,” or ACE. The site Leaving Fundamentalism describes it:
Accelerated Christian Eduction is a fundamentalist curriculum from Texas, distributed in the UK by Christian Education Europe (CEE). There are approximately 2,000 students of ACE in the UK, including homeschoolers. ACE students work in silence in “offices” that Ofsted describesas “rather like a modern version of a monk’s cell in a medieval monastery.” Students are not allowed to turn around, talk, or move without permission, which they gain by raising a flag to get a supervisor’s attention. ACE students complete PACEs (Packets of Accelerated Christian Education), a prescribed series of workbooks.
Official ACE literature says “students are taught to see life from God’s point of view.” Religious instruction is not a separate subject: “Biblical principles and concepts are interwoven into all aspects of the curriculum [citation].” In English, for example, students are given examples of interrogative sentences [source]: “Do you know Jesus as your personal Saviour? Can you ever praise Him enough?” and asked to underline the correct verb in a sentence like “Jesus (is, are) good.”
(See more on ACE here. It’s dreadful!) Distressingly, the UK has approved the ACE curriculum by declaring the International Certificate of Christian Education—certifying completion of the ACE curriculum—as equivalent to Cambridge International A-level standards. And, as noted below, ACE nurseries, which teach creationism, are government funded. Without that funding, these indoctrination creches would collapse.
But what’s in that curriculum? Creationism, for one thing: as Leaving Fundamentalism notes, “Evolution is constantly ridiculed as ‘impossible’ and a ‘sinking ship.’”
Here’s a cartoon said to be typical of the curriculum (these cartoons appear throughout the students’ materials):
That’s pretty close to a Jack Chick cartoon! At any rate, the UK government has no business approving a curriculum like this.
To see how ACE students are educated (that should be “indoctrinated”), Leaving Fundamentalism has just posted a list of “33 jaw-droppingly bad multiple choice questions from Accelerated Christian Education.” Here’s a small sample; pay attention to the ages:
This would be funny except it’s the only schooling that many UK students get when they come from Christian families. What kind of education is that? Is it comparable to A-level standards? Since I’m not familiar with the standards, UK readers can tell me.
Leaving Fundamentalism notes:
In the United Kingdom, UK NARIC has deemed qualifications based on ACE to be comparable to A-level. Ofsted routinely whitewashes ACE schools in reports, and ACE nurseries teaching creationism receive government funding.
In New Zealand, ACE qualifications are accepted for university entrance.
In South Africa, based on HESA’s recommendation, a number of universities have signed up to accept ACE graduates.
ACE says its curriculum is used in 192 countries and 6000 schools worldwide. This is happening nearer than you think.
Here are three pages from the ACE nursery school “book”; remember, UK citizens: your tax dollars are funding this (from the July Guardian article: “Creationism in UK education—Why the fight must go on.”
Religion might not poison everything, but it’s polluting the brains of these poor, helpless kids, born into the wrong families due to the inexorable and pitiless laws of physics.