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Gill: “Imagine if the law required voucher schools to be “academically acceptable”

James Gill issues another take-down of Bobby’s hopelessly-flawed voucher disaster:

Imagine if the law required voucher schools to be “academically acceptable,” as the legislative auditor has recommended.

By any rational standard, that would rule out all schools that tell kids evolution is a lie. A lot of the schools wouldn’t make the cut, because vouchers have been a godsend to the fundamentalists. Kids transferred out of failing public schools often end up in church schools that banish science in favor of creationist fantasy. It is their proudest boast.

Gill goes on to sum up the laughable curriculum at Bishop McManus Academy in eastern New Orleans. The rigid, religious regime would be fine if only for the parents that foisted their own hard-earned money on this absurist education. However, now state tax dollars flow into the “Bishop’s” eager hands. And his “bible-centered” lesson-plans leave students woefully ill-prepared for the real world’s non-religious subject matter:

In the handbook, the folks at Bishop McManus describe with great relish the fate that awaits sinners. “We believe that the fearful, unbelieving, abominable, whoremongers, sorcerers, idolators and liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone which is the second death.” They got so excited writing that they lost count of the commas.

So long as such notions are promulgated at public expense, it is no surprise that voucher kids are prescribed textbooks published by Bob Jones University and other institutions that maintain God created the earth in six days a few thousand years ago.

Rational Christians realize they can have their faith and evolution too, since science and religions exist in different spheres. But what Mencken termed the booboisie insists we have to choose. In that case the smart money must go on the side supported by the evidence. Schools that deny evolution can only churn out ignoramuses, which seems an odd way to spend the public dollar.

Still, Gill makes the painfully-obvious-to-everyone-but-wingnuts-and-Bobby-Jindal point:

Clearly, if voucher schools had to be “academically acceptable,” Bishop McManus would not have been admitted in the first place. Neither would Lord knows how many others.

The program is clearly failing to deliver on its supporters’ promises of an educational turnaround. Nevertheless, Senate Education Committee Chairman Conrad Appel, R-Metairie, who sponsored the voucher law, says there is nothing “urgent to do at this time,” while Chas Roemer, president of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, says, “The measures we put into place are doing what they were supposed to.”

That, indeed, is probably true. God help us.

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