- Posted May 9, 2013 by
Is Teaching Creationism Child Abuse?
I learned today about the 4th grade science quiz from the Blue Ridge Christian Academy that is going viral on Facebook and other sites. I was shocked and ashamed to discover that this school is in the same county in which I was born and raised. Not only is it the same county, it is the same region of the county, only a few miles from my childhood home.
As a child, I started my education at a school very similar to this one. Rigid and demanding, when it came to education, they were very serious. I learned to read, add, subtract, and multiply while still in kindergarten. When I transferred to a public school in the first grade, I was so far ahead of my classmates that I would read books from the second grade class to keep from becoming bored. The school was very good at the basics such as reading, writing, and arithmetic. I did not stay at the school long enough to learn what their science curriculum contained, but I can only assume that it was similar to the Blue Ridge Christian Academy, given the focus on a "Christian" education.
Unfortunately, even with a head start in the basics, a child taught pseudoscience that is patently false is forever at a disadvantage. These children, if left to the whims of the school, will be so intellectually stunted that they will either be forced to find post-secondary schools that conform to their prior education, or they will face a complete reconstruction of their world-view. I can imagine few things as shocking to the psyche as the realization that all you've ever been taught about the world is incorrect.
Given that the "science" being taught to these children is not merely an interpretation, but is demonstrably and completely incorrect, and also given that the intellectual cost is so high, does this not constitute child abuse? Can we not as a society agree that there is a difference between practicing a faith and indoctrination? Shouldn't we, as a nation, stand up and say that while you are entitled to your beliefs, a certain standard of education is required? Where do we draw the line, or can these schools teach whatever they please? Is it okay if they teach that electricity is not real, or that the world is flat? Doesn’t society owe it to the children to ensure their parents and the schools they have chosen for their children do not indoctrinate them?
Seeing this image today, and discovering that it is authentic has shaken my belief that this nation can one day be great again. For as long as this brand of falsehood can stand alongside actual facts, we are doomed as a nation.
Below is the email that I sent to the administrator who's name and email address is on the Blue Ridge Christian Academy website. I am certain that it will fall on deaf ears, but I simply could not stand by and say nothing.
Thank you for taking the time to read this report.
Dear Ms. Baker,
As a native of Campobello, I'm deeply saddened to see the recent media exposure that our area of the country is receiving with regards to the science quiz given in the 4th grade class. I love my deep roots in the area (pre-American Revolution), and look forward to returning from Savannah, GA to live in the Upstate again.
As an educated man, I also find it troubling that your curriculum teaches blatant falsehoods to the youth of South Carolina as a whole, and Spartanburg County in particular. Through such actions, South Carolina will be doomed to become an intellectual backwater. The children, who truly know no better, are being done not only a disservice, but in my opinion, are being abused. They will remain forever intellectually stunted. Just imagine when/if they go to college, and they learn that all of the things they were taught in grade school were not only wrong, but blatantly, comically, and absurdly incorrect! Won't that rock them to their core? How can you, in good conscience, hinder their education with such incompetence?
I have always taken great pride in my Southern upbringing, and I've often defended my home state from the snide remarks of people who just don't understand what it is like to grow up with a sense of place and deep roots. Unfortunately, your school has placed me in the awkward position of having to agree with those people. To add insult to injury, I can't say that your school is in a remote corner of the state. No, you are located in my home county, and in a county that is quite populated/educated. A county that has good schools, and until now, I thought was (on the whole) educated. I see now that I was wrong.
Given the amount of publicity this even is generating, I expect that you will be tuning out responses such as mine, for if you can teach that the world is 6,000 years old, you are quite adept at tuning out facts and logical dissent. Believe what you will, but for the sake of the children, please do not poison their ability to be educated and functional adults. What you are teaching is patently false. It is akin to teaching that electricity doesn't exist, or that powered flight is not possible. Yes, it is that bad. I would expect that level of ignorance in the jungles of Micronesia, but in Spartanburg County, it is just completely astounding.
So again, please, for the children. Change your curriculum. Close your school. Do something to better their chances of leading a successful and educated life.
Sadly, and most sincerely,