Saturday, 20 October 2007

Religious-based education on trial in California

Now what kind of mess is this? Thanks to W's pro-Christian/No Private School Left-Behind/desecularization agenda. We have seen mega-churches crop up across the country building more of their own Christian schools than they have in the past.

As no surprise here comes the whining and complaining of persecution. Wah! The University of California, like all public universities, is a secular institution. I am sure UC is not discriminating or persecuting Christian applicants that come from Christian schooled education because they are Christian. I would wager my left nut that UC simply looks at these applications and find inadequate criteria met for admission to UC.

I wonder why. Maybe 'cause a Christian education is...well, inadequate and lacking.

That's a no-brainer as is illustrated in these first three snippets.

Sarah Potter-Smith, a sophomore at Calvary Chapel Christian School, can’t understand why anyone would think that learning any subject from a Christian perspective is inferior to a secular education.

Let's see. Damn! I can't find any statistics or reports except this: North Jersey Media Group providing local news, sports & classifieds for Northern New Jersey!

“We learn just as much as the public schools around here do and, actually, we learn more. For example, we have to learn about evolution on top of creationism, too,” said the 15-year-old.

No. According to the above study; on average public and private educations differ insignificantly.
Here's the rub though, Creationism is not a recognized or validated science...period and never will be because it's a theological philosophy not a biological science. Armed with the Creation Sword Christian educated students attempting to enter in public university will find a hard time discussing "real" religious theology, comparative that is (though, in my opinion, [theology] is all bullshit anyway). I don't think most fundamental Christians could handle discussion of other Creation myths without having a hissy fit.

Calvary English teacher Shannon Jonker, 26, said the Christian perspective helps students identify the many religious and biblical themes in literature. “We’re reading Frankenstein right now, and there are allusions to the creation story,” said Jonker, a 2002 graduate of University of California, Riverside.

Why does this look like the seed for a BEAST post? Frankenstein!!! That is just brilliant! Amazing!
Perhaps there are allusions, I'll not dispute it. But I'd like to know how they are interpreting it. God as Dr. Frankenstein? Adam as the "monster"? Damn, that's pure academic genius.

The Christian perspective is why people send their children to a Christian school, said Robert Tyler, head of Advocates for Faith and Freedom and Calvary’s lawyer in a controversial case against the University of California system.

I thought conservatives, I could probably lump religious conservatives here, were against frivolous lawsuits? association of Christian schools...charges that the admissions policy at the university unconstitutionally discriminates against them because they teach from a religious perspective.

I disagree and would add that these schools provide a piss-poor education. It's not discrimination. It's a simple case of crunching the numbers to see who is up to snuff on standardized testing.

“This is just another example of what’s happening on a much larger scale,” said Tyler, who maintains that the university is attempting to secularize private Christian education.

I have a solution. If they are bitching about a secular education, why the fuck do they even want to get into a secular university? It's called higher education for a reason; pack their bags to Oral Roberts, Liberty, Regent or Patrick Henry College. Where's John Stossel damnit, only if just to say "Give me a break".

Christopher Patti, counsel for UC. “There is no prohibition on religious content in UC a-g courses,” he said. “If the course adequately teaches the subject matter and adequately teaches the skills that students need in that subject, then the fact that it may also make reference to other theories doesn’t disqualify it, even religious theories,”

He was referring to the charge that the university rejected core courses using textbooks by leading Christian publishers Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Book because of religious content. These included biology texts that presented evolution but also the biblical account of creation and intelligent design as alternative theories.
UC said it rejected such texts “not because they have religious content, but because they fail to meet the university’s standards for effectively teaching the required subject matter.” UC, which also has disapproved courses from secular and other religious schools, said the books might have been approved as supplementary instead of primary texts.

DUH! Wow! I had an epiphany. Why Christian education is a farce. You can cheat by reading the bible!

Patti said, “The hypothetical that every core course would be disqualified is so far-fetched because Calvary already has a very large number of approved courses, including courses in every one of the a-g requirements.”

Just not the Creation and Christian doctrinal type of courses I'm sure.

Moreover, he said, if a school does not have approval for all or any of the 15 a-g courses, there are other ways for students to satisfy the requirement. These include scoring in the top two-thirds on the relevant SAT II tests in missing courses or by achieving a total score of 3450 on the three-part SAT Reasoning Test and two SAT II subject tests. However, since the majority of applicants achieve eligibility through approved courses in high school, the Christian schools consider these alternatives unfairly burdensome for their students.

Unfairly burdensome for their student? Thank you, thank you. This is exactly what the hell I was getting at with this post. Christian educated students are not up to snuff on these standardized tests. Does anybody have an explanation? How about a piss-poor education?

Here's how:

Examples of courses at Christian schools rejected by the University of California:

Course: Special Providence: Christianity and the American Republic

Text: American Government for Christian Schools (Bob Jones University Press)

Reason rejected: Content was not consistent with the “empirical historical knowledge generally accepted in the collegiate community.”

Course: Christianity and Morality in American Literature

Text: American Literature: Classics for Christians Vol. 5 (A Beka Book)

Reason Rejected: Used only an anthology instead of complete works; selected works inconsistent with university “expectations regarding critical thinking and broad exposure to writers’ key works.”

Course: Biology

Text: Biology for Christian Schools 2nd Edition (Bob Jones University Press)

Reason rejected: Text “is not consistent with the knowledge generally accepted in the scientific community” and operates from the premise that “science is invalid to the extent it conflicts with Christian belief.”


Modusoperandi said...

Dude, I don't know what you're in such a huff about...have you ever taken a biblical biology course? You just have to fit all the "kinds" on to an ark, then they pat you on the head and let you go outside to sit in the sun and feel guilty about not being good enough for Jesus.

Biblical archeology is even easier. Read about some guy in the 1920's who dug down somewhere and found something, then you shout out "This proves the Bible is true!", then they pat you on the head and let you go outside to sit in the sun and feel guilty about not being good enough for Jesus.

Biblical mathematics, too! 3, 7, 12, 40 & the number of the beastie are just about all you need. No pesky irrational numbers in bible math, no siree!

Ooo! I totally forgot Comparative Religion! RC = false, Hinduism = false, animism = false, biblical literal/fundamentalist Protestantism = true. Weee! I can go outside to sit in the sun and feel guilty about not being good enough for Jesus now!

concerned citizen said...

larro thanks for the post it's enlightening & also frightening . These fundamentalist evangelical students that are being churned out by colleges like Patrick Henry have already infiltrated our Government (Actually they are welcomed with open arms by the Present Administration) working to influence policy, among other things helping to fuel the flames of the war on Iraq. If the Christian right can bully the secular Universities into kowtowing to their religiously biased criteria, what will that do to the integrity of real science? Coincidentally, I just watched an interview with a couple of authors on C-span talking about some of these same issues. In Hanna Rosin's book "God's Harvard" she talks about Patrick Henry college as a training ground for political activism. The thing is these young people aren't stupid, they are very motivated by their beliefs & they have a good support system. Real science is a threat to Evangelical fundamentalism & the agenda of the religious right.

Pyramidhead said...

cause when need more sheep in this world.

Larro said...

Holy shit! I was just looking at that book (God's Harvard) not 30 minutes ago. I was seriously thinking about buying it. However, I did pick up The End of Faith by Sam Harris and Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan Jacoby (I am soooo stoked!).

tina said...

Pass those books along please...:)

concerned citizen said...

I Listened to Mitt Romney on TV tell his audience that he strongly upheld the constitutional principle of "Freedom of Religion" but that he was apposed to & would fight secularism because it was an anti-religion & should not be protected. Now that kind of talk really pisses me off!
What would happen to the integrity of science with someone like that in the White House?

Modusoperandi said...

concerned citizen "What would happen to the integrity of science with someone like that in the White House?"

I'm thinking that you're new to our planet. If so, welcome to Earth. The coffee machine is over there. The TV is in the lounge. There's the ladies room (jiggle the handle when you're done). Well, that's it, really. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to probe me.

concerned citizen said...

Yeah that was dumb of me. I should have asked what might happen to the integrity of science if we get another Republican religious ass kisser in the White House.