Tax Money Siphoned Off to Religious Schools That Champion Theocracy

Jesus is big in Florida.
At the moment, the only proper school voucher program in Florida is the McKay Scholarship Program, which caters to special-needs kids. (A proposal for a more general voucher program was struck down in the Legislature six years ago.) But if you've got a nonspecial child, no money, and a burning desire to send your kid to a private school where she'll learn that Darwinism is right next door to Nazism or that dinosaurs were killed off by the Great Flood, then you've got options. (Remember: Whenever God closes a door, He opens a window.)

These options arise primarily thanks to Step Up for Students, which allows Florida corporations to channel money that would otherwise go to taxes into scholarships that work precisely like vouchers. Last year, according to a disturbing story that appeared today at Alternet, $140 million was disbursed through Step Up for Students, along with a few smaller (but very similar) programs. Of the students who take advantage of these funds, three quarters find themselves in schools with a religious bent to their teaching.

How religious?

Well. Rachel Tabachnik, who wrote the story over at Alternet, has amassed a considerable collection of textbooks from the publishers who serve these private schools. A Beka books in particular, which is the go-to publisher for the hundreds of schools in Florida aligned with fundamentalist Protestantism.

Here is a quote, supplied by Tabachnik, from one of those books re: globalization:

...instead of this world unification ushering in an age of prosperity and peace, as most globalists believe, it will be a time of unimaginable human suffering as recorded in God's Word. The Anti-Christ will tightly regulate who may buy and sell.

Another, re: the Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court made several liberal decisions in the 1970s, indicating the moral decline of the nation as a whole.

And re: Roe v. Wade:

Ignoring 3,500 years of Judeo-Christian civilization, religion, morality, and law, the Burger court held was not a living person, but rather the "property" of the mother (much like slaves were considered property in the 1857 case of Dred Scott v. Sandford).

And re: government:

God's original purpose for government was to punish the evil and reward the good.

And also re: government:

All governments are ordained by God, but none compare to government by God, a theocracy.

A theocracy! Nothing beats it! If that bugs you, you absolutely must read Tabachnik's story. There's tons of this stuff. (And we haven't even started on evolution.) My favorite quote comes not from an A Beka text but from a book from Bob Jones' University Publishing -- A Beka's biggest competitor in the Jesus-crazy textbook biz. That quote concerns slavery and goes like this:

To help them endure the difficulties of slavery, God gave Christian slaves the ability to combine the African heritage of song with the dignity of Christian praise. Through the Negro spiritual, the slaves developed the patience to wait on the Lord and discovered that the truest freedom is from the bondage of sin.

I'd pay good money to see the author try that line on Harriet Tubman. She'd underground-railroad his ass out a window.

I spoke with a nice representative from A Beka who tells me that none of the schools in Broward use their textbooks, which isn't necessarily a sign that all's well with Browardian pedagogy. Calvary Chapel's school, for example, teaches science from textbooks published by, ahem, Purposeful Design.

Some Americans don't want their taxpayer dollars funding abortions. One may disagree with their reasoning, but it's hard not to understand their frustration. Nobody wants to fund an enterprise by which one is morally repulsed. Tabachnik's story raises the question: Is it any less reasonable for the rest of us to take umbrage at the siphoning of taxes to pay for an abortion of education?
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this is also overlooking the overall efforts of florida's latest congressional session, that also includes privatizing healthcare programs, privatizing prisons, restricting welfare, restricting voting rights in 2 separate bills, delaying redistricting, dismantling environmental regulations, cutting public workers' pay, cutting unemployment benefits, and even statewide initiatives to deny food to homeless pattern there...


How is this education when you are filling the heads of kids with extreme right wing religious nonsense?Great idea to take all the money away from REAL schools and instead give it to these nutjobs.  There is a reason for separation of church and state and this is a great example as to why.  And to think the right wingers accuse public education as indoctrination.  Seems to me that the religious right has that market cornered.Look, you need to teach ACTUAL science, an not something that revolves around some old guy on a cloud.  Because when you do teach this non science, then the kids lose the ability to actually think.  Instead they revert to "god did it" and resume happily chewing their McDonalds cud until they die of heart failure and have to be fork lifted out of their lazy boys.Trust me, this is NOT a pretty picture.  I have seen this happen too many times already.

Patti Lynn
Patti Lynn

The reality is that the McKay Scholarships are being directed to rich ADD kids, (NOT kids who need a little more assistance than the public school provides) ...whose parents have beaucoup bucks...and enables them to knock $7,000. off the $20,000. annual tuition at places like the American Heritage School.  In fact, the school keeps those kids in a "different" program, called The Academy, in order to maintain the funding.


The tone of this article sounds like parents of poor kids should not have a choice on where to send their kids for an education. Vouchers across the board will happen eventually as they should.     


I see nothing wrong with private schools teaching whatever they want. If I don't like what a private school teaches then I simply won't send my child there. However, if my tax dollars are funding said private school in anyway how is it then a private school? If it is being funded by even one dollar of of public monies then the public decides what they teach. Children should be able to go to whatever public school that there parents choose for them. If the parents can't afford to send their child to a private school then the child should not receive any public monies to go to a private school.


That's one perspective, and a simplistic one at that. Another is that taxpayers will end up paying for the religious education of students whose parents don't need the help. Taxpayers should pay only for those schools that may be attended by all regardless of religious affiliation or political bent.

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