Happy birthday Leaving Fundamentalism.
It’s been a good first year for this blog, capped off by a successful past week. My post Five jobs a Creationist can’t do was the 23rd most viewed post on WordPress.com on Monday.
This contributed to the blog hitting #6 on WordPress’s chart of fastest growing blogs:
I will be celebrating my success by retiring from blogging about ACE. Before I shut up on the subject, please read my last post. Read the rest of this entry
This blog is littered with absurdities from Accelerated Christian Education, some of them involving mythical beasts or the denial of basic physics. But does it matter how old the world is? On a day-to-day basis, it doesn’t make much practical difference how long you think our planet has existed. Why not let Creationists teach whatever they want?
If there are grounds for regulating what gets taught in private schools, it must be because of substantive harm to students. I argue that ACE causes this kind of harm. It limits children’s future, because if they do what ACE says, huge areas of study are closed off to them. In fact, this post would be better (but less catchily) titled:
Five subjects a Creationist can’t study
This is a guest post. Another advocate of Accelerated Christian Education has come forward to give her reasons for using the curriculum. Monica does a great job explaining herself, so I’ll give you no introduction. Please read it and let me (and Monica) know what you think.
I am writing this as a person with over 20 years’ experience of working in Christian Schools and home education with ACE as a Supervisor (teacher) for a range of ages from 4-18 years. My degree was in Chemistry and Biochemistry so I have taught practical science in schools as well as the ACE Curriculum. I also had the privilege of spending two years as an inspector (not Ofsted) for ACE Schools as commissioned by Christian Education Europe, UK who provide the curriculum.
My two main aims in writing this are to clarify the use and aims of the ACE curriculum in ACE Schools in the UK and also to make it clear that every curriculum has underlying beliefs and values.
In fact, some years ago, I wrote an article which I published in a leaflet called, ‘Education is Not Neutral’. The idea that education consists of a curriculum package containing a body of knowledge which is passed on to pupils in a sterile environment is truly false. Every curriculum has an underlying worldview whether it is religious or atheistic. The Jews, the Moslems, Christians and atheists all want to pass on the beliefs and values of their particular worldview to the next generation. Read the rest of this entry
“I was shunned, but survived”. I’m thrilled to present today’s guest post, from Rebecca Arman of Tasmania. Rebecca mentioned to me in emails how difficult her experience of fundamentalism was to get over, and she was unsure about writing her story, so I hope you’ll all leave comments to thank her for her honesty and courage.
Of all my stories of my past life challenges, I find this one a very difficult one to tell. Perhaps I’m embarrassed knowing what I know now, to remember those days. And perhaps I still feel loyal to my partner and a reluctance to dishonour him. But I make this bit clear. I do not dishonour him. I loved him dearly and fought hard with him to beat the tumour that took his life. I did not want him to die, nor my children to grow up without a father. But sometimes men make bad decisions. And he sure did make one bad one…..
I am writing this in a lovely bakery near Salamanca market on a balmy Hobart Saturday afternoon. I’m feeling at peace, in my new independent travel mode, enjoying the buzz and beauty of Battery Point. With old buildings containing galleries and shops on one side, a sea port on another, a mountain backdrop, and green parks to laze in, it is a stunning part of Tasmania I rarely knew when I lived here years ago. Nearly 30 years has passed since my first baby was born on the opposite part of Tasmania in very different circumstances. ACE is Accelerated Christian Education, and it is still taught in church run schools in Western Countries today.
When my first baby was born, my husband had started a job as a teacher in a Baptist Church School that used ACE curriculum. During the years leading up to this I was the only daughter of a strict, verbally and emotionally abusive father and an unhappy, resentful mother. When I met my children’s father, he was a ‘normal’, fun loving, attractive, fit, kind hearted person, a graduate from teachers college seeking employment. A few years later I had involuntarily become a fundamentalist Christian teacher/pastors wife, and the indoctrination of those years had a huge tole on me. Many years of counselling, thinking, reading and reprogramming was needed before I became a real person. I drifted into early marriage after my loneliness of teenage bully years, which together with my parents nightly fighting and totally dysfunctional relationship, had created an insecurity and void in my life. I had no confidence, and my friends were few. Nothing I did could please my parents and I felt I didn’t fit in or belong anywhere. I was unloved, so I married, for love, had babies to be loved, and accepted, and before I knew it my life spun out of control and I was in a community where I knew little of life outside this church school. It killed my soul and broke my heart, but I recovered. Read the rest of this entry
Last week, I finally got my hands on something I’ve been trying to get for more than ten years. This.
Yes, that’s a picture of a kid being bent over a chair so he can be beaten. This picture is from page 118 of the School of Tomorrow Procedures Manual (part 1, 1998 revision). That’s the guide that all Accelerated Christian Education schools are required to follow in running their schools. I was 13 the first time I saw this picture, and I found it shocking even though, as a good Bible-believing Christian, I knew it was God’s will for children to be spanked.
Critics of my blog often tell me that I am wrong to highlight instances of child abuse in ACE schools. “Child abuse happens in all kinds of schools”, they tell me. “You’re just trying to smear ACE”.
To those critics I say: Look at this picture, and then tell me that. Yes, child abuse happens in all kinds of places. But most of those places don’t consider it to be one of their main selling points.
[New to this blog? Then you might not know what Accelerated Christian Education is. Here's a whistle-stop tour.]
There are claims in the PACEs which even Creationists have known and acknowledged are untrue for decades. Despite this, they continue to be taught as science in ACE schools. But the thing that’s shocking is that the books in question have been revised multiple times since their first publication. Despite the fact that these claims have been publicly disproved for years, ACE has continued to teach them as science through successive reprints of their materials. This shows a flagrant disregard for accuracy. That’s not what I want from an educational publisher.
It seems inconceivable that, in the twenty-five years since these claims were first printed, ACE have not been made well aware of their inaccuracy (indeed, later I will present evidence that they have been, and have ignored it). Read the rest of this entry
For a few months now I have been in contact with a former employee of Christian Education Europe, the UK arm of Accelerated Christian Education. Christine Gregg was fired from CEE following a long period of being thoroughly taken advantage of. She is now keen to expose the inner workings of the company, in particular its abuse of staff, in-fighting, and breach of employment law. Bring it on.
Christine has finally published a detailed expose of Christian Education Europe, and it’s not pretty. The author has been in correspondence with me for a while. She has written to me that, although she knows many damning things about CEE, she was determined only to include things she could prove in this article. I’m confident this information is legit. You should go and read the whole thing. I’ve noticed, though, that statistically, my readers don’t click on links in anything like the volumes you read my posts (why is that?), so here are the highlights:
CEE broke the law to employ and sack staff
She claims that staff who cross Arthur Roderick have been fired, and this has been made to look like a resignation.
Turnover of staff is extremely high at the company. Mr Roderick doesn’t like anyone with a different opinion to him and if you don’t comply you will be sacked. This sacking may be disguised as resignation in some form or other. In my case I received a letter thanking me for a fictitious resignation during a nervous breakdown and marriage crisis. In the past I have seen people head hunted from all over the UK and indeed the world. They moved to Swindon with their family and then get promptly dropped at the will of Arthur Roderick. He fills his board room with people who will agree with him and if they don’t they get pushed.
Whilst I was there, one person was sacked for a supposedly gay relationship, another we were told wanted to go back to school, which was a total fabrication, another general manager was told his position was redundant and then another person was employed, a young boy pushed for getting together with a non-Christian whom he later married, the list is endless. Probably one of the worse cases was that of Alastair Kirk whom Arthur groomed and mentored to take the CEO position. He was given the job as well as Home-school Manager at a very young age without training or experience. This of course was never going to work and he and his long serving, loyal mother were both pushed out. No one speaks about what happened to them. They are afraid of being kicked out of the local Christian community as I have been. They are also told it is ungodly and not Christian like to criticise.
Meanwhile, in appointing a new CEO, they ignored employment law:
I absolutely pray that the Border Agency will investigate overseas appointees to CEE. Their current CEO was allowed immigration to work and live in the UK. The agency was told the position was advertised in the UK and no one qualified in this specialist area could be found. This is not true. There were many suitable applicants but the directors did not even read the CVS they submitted. This was because Arthur Roderick had wanted this particular person. The position was indeed advertised, but the company had no intention of employing any such applicant. Their employment of overseas students for no salary was stopped and a couple of them deported.
All healthcare is against God’s will
Even though Jesus told us to take care of the sick, ACE is adamant that it is absolutely not God’s will for government to have any part in this. Franklin D. Roosevelt, for example, is viewed as one of the most evil presidents America has ever had (unlike, say, George W. Bush, who’s an all-round good egg):
“The year 1933 was a dark one in American history. In that year, President Roosevelt began introducing socialistic programs which now play such an important role in American politics, economics, religion, and education. In 1933, America began shifting from a nation whose philosophy was a conservative, God-fearing one to a nation whose philosophy was a liberal and socialistic one.”
Since I started this blog, I’ve been hoping that the parents of an ACE homeschooler would contact me to share their views. Recently, I’ve gained quite probably the best correspondent I could possibly hope for on this blog. She wishes to remain anonymous, with good reason, so I will simply refer to her as Ms. Awesome.
Ms. Awesome’s epic rants about ACE and Christian Education Europe have graced my inbox on three occasions so far, and each time they’ve been absolute gold. Frankly, she should have her own blog. So I hereby present, with her blessing, the edited highlights of her demolition of ACE. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
In his diary for the New Statesman in 2006, Richard Dawkins shared this on Accelerated Christian Education:
“One of my TV locations was a London school that follows the (American) Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) syllabus. The day after watching my show, three colleagues told me they had interviewed, for a place at university, a young woman who had been taught (not at the same school) using ACE. She turned out to be the worst candidate they had ever encountered. She had no idea that thinking was even an option: her job was either to know or guess the “right” answer. Worse, she had no clue how bad she was, having always scored at least 95 per cent in exams – the National Christian Schools Certificate (NCSC). Should my colleagues write to Ofsted about ACE and NCSC? Unfortunately, Ofsted is the organisation that gave a rave review to Tony Blair’s pet city academy in Gateshead: a Christian school whose head of science thinks the entire universe began after the domestication of the dog.”
I realise I am perhaps guilty of confirmation bias here, but that’s exactly what I’d expect to happen to most former ACE students in an Oxbridge interview. The important part is this: She had no idea that thinking was even an option. That’s exactly how ACE teaches. If you come out of an ACE school showing some independent thinking ability, the curriculum cannot be given the credit. Either you’re extraordinarily independent-minded, or you’ve been lucky enough to learn it from somewhere else.
But Dawkins raises an important point: What the hell is Ofsted doing when it gives approving reports to ACE schools?