Monthly Archives: May 2014

Britney Spears? Is she in our class?

There’s another new ACE blogger on the scene. Everyone, say hi to Christina Kelton. In a recent conversation on the Accelerated Christian Education Exposed Facebook group, Christina wrote:

I could go on for days with my thoughts on the religious aspect of ACE. Religion aside, I could never stand behind a program that turns out students with diplomas that can’t be used. My high school education was not considered valid for the courses that I took within the ACE program in the US. I now need a waiver to even apply for college and even then it carries almost no weight. In addition, the program never prepared us for the SAT or the ACT. I have never taken either. This causes Universities to scoff. To this day I am still pursuing legal avenues to even secure a diploma that passes minimum state requirements. I am 26 years old and still haven’t achieved this because once the damage is done, the government makes it so difficult to rectify. I will never stand behind the ACE system, religious differences aside.

Christina’s first tumblr post about ACE was so outstanding that I’ve asked her permission to reproduce it here. 

Through the years I have tried to explain my grade school experiences with people who had attended public school, but no matter how detailed I felt that I was, the nuances were typically lost in translation. I have put together this post in hopes to better illustrate the severe deficit in the education I had received and display the potential harm of this particular Fundamentalist Christian education structure.

To put it simply, my school was a private K-12 Christian school in Iowa, nestled in the middle of Amish country. Though the student body was diverse, it remained predominantly Mennonite for the latter part of my education there. Students commonly clique’d with peers who attended the same church as them, naturally dividing the student body into “most conservative, somewhat conservative, and we-wear-jeans-at-home-don’t-tell-anyone-in-the-community.” The curriculum here was a home school curriculum that had been ordered in bulk to accommodate its students. The curriculum was made up of thin workbooks called “PACEs.” Each subject had its own series of PACEs and were chronologically numbered. Students were given goals to meet each day and were encouraged to work beyond those goals provided that there was time. In my case this meant that I was multiple grades above my peers in English/Word Building/Spelling PACESs and multiple grades behind them in Math PACEs. The classrooms were large, with all of elementary and middle school in one room and high school in another. The faculty were often severely understaffed. The teachers were not equipped with the tools to help me catch up with basic math skills.

This system let us down in a number of ways, the greatest two of these being that we were being given falsified information and that we were not being completely prepared to integrate into mainstream society. In addition to being poorly educated about popular culture, slang, and life skills, I would not take a proper health class until my junior year of public high school.

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My Christian education taught me not to befriend atheists

Not just atheists, actually. Friendship with all ‘unbelievers’ was off the table.

Once again I am a guest poster at The Friendly Atheist. The social division caused by this kind of education is a much more immediate harm than the threat of creationism, but it’s received less attention. I want to put that right.

Please check out my post and share it if you like it.

My life in an ACE school (continued)

ACE Bible Mind Control

A guest post series by Ian, reposted with permission from Bruce Gerencser’s The Way Forward.

Part 3: Wildwood Christian Academy

Please see part 2 in this series for an explanation of Accelerated Christians Education (ACE) schools.

I attended my first ACE school in the second grade, way back in 1979-’80. The pastor of our church had sent his children to this school the year before, so my dad thought it was a good idea to send me there. As he later said, “I thought you would come home every day singing psalms and speaking Bible verses”.

Wildwood Christian Academy was a part/ministry of The Church in the Wildwood. The principal was Mr. Barker. Mrs. Barker was the teacher in the Lower Learning Center, which I was in. The Upper Learning Center had mostly male Supervisors with only a few monitors. The Barker’s were a very conservative couple. They were death on any music with a beat; there were even hymns that were considered too up beat. I came from a Baptist church that was pretty stiff, so I had no experience with up beat Christian music. They were also very strict on the dress code. One time, they made my mom get back into her car because she wore pants to pick me up.

It was here that I had my first remembered experience of religion mixed with politics. I remember hearing a recording of a person talking about the circumstances surrounding the writing of The Star Spangled Banner. The narrator made this a religious struggle; Americans had the might of right since the country was founded in the Word of God. Patriotism was very high in this school, we learned how to properly fold flags and how to properly stand at attention while reciting.

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Who cares about atheism?

Some of my Christian readers like me because, they say, I am an atheist but not a New Atheist. I appreciate their support, but I think I might actually be one of those nasty Gnu Atheists. I think I should clarify my position.

I’m thinking about all this because I’ve been asked to review a book called Godbuster: Banishes all known gods. I haven’t read it yet, and I’ll reserve judgement until I have, but at first glance, I’m not sure how a book like this is going to be useful.

When I stopped being a Christian, I was not happy about it. There are a great many Christian tropes about atheists: they’re just too proud to submit to God; they’re just angry at God; they’re just too selfish to stop sinning; they hate God. None of those were true of me at the time. My heart was not “hardened against God”. I really wanted to believe. I just couldn’t.

Photo by David Shankbone. Source: Wikimedia Commons

That’s not the case anymore. I like the universe without God in it a lot more than I liked it when I thought there was an Almighty watching over it. I don’t think there is a God (or gods, or godesses), and I’m glad about that. The idea of worship now seems servile and unpleasant to me. But I’m happy for those who want to engage in it to do so.

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Butchering science in order to butcher the Bible

I’m really worried that Dana Hunter is going to explode. Or at least her liver might.

Dana, you may recall, is an earth science specialist, and she’s going through the ACE Earth Science PACEs one at a time and dissecting their lessons. Well, she was. Then she hit Science 1086 and sent me this email:

Subject: ZOMG I hate these idiots

Message: I just finished days of fact-checking and debunking Science 1086. I didn’t actually count the stuff they got right, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t need to use both hands.

This is educational malpractice. It shouldn’t be allowed. I don’t know if the US will ever extract its head from its ass long enough to outlaw this crap, but I hope we get there. Britain should be burning this stuff.
I can’t believe you survived several years of this with a functioning mind….
I’m not sure I did finish several years of it with a functioning mind, but my mind is functioning now, which allows me to appreciate Dana’s annihilation of the PACEs. Apart from her constant exasperation (expressed largely in the form of GIFs), I found these highly educational. I knew the creationism was dodgy, but I hadn’t realised just how shaky ACE’s grip on more mundane aspects of science can be. Here are the parts you should check out…

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