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Accelerated Christian Education’s ugly history of racism

Oh hi everyone. Homeschoolers Anonymous is running a series on Homeschooling and Race. As part of it, I contributed a post about ACE’s history of racism. I’ve talked about ACE and race before (here, here, and here) but this includes all new never-before-blogged racism!

Second thing: My old post “Why fundamentalism is not faith” is suddenly getting an enormous amount of traffic, apparently from Facebook, and I don’t know why. So hi, all my new readers, and please let me know where you found me.

Here’s my HA post.


I remember staring at the text:

Economics is the major reason that apartheid exists. Some people want to abolish apartheid immediately. That action would certainly alter the situation in South Africa, but would not improve it.

It was 1996; I was 11. Nelson Mandela had been president of South Africa for two years, and apartheid had been officially abolished in South Africa for five. I was not exactly well informed about the situation. I knew it was complicated, and that the country was not exactly without problems. But I also knew that apartheid had been an evil thing that had treated black people as less than human. I suspected my book was written by a racist. I didn’t say anything about it to my parents though. That wasn’t how ACE worked. You just got on with it in silence.

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I am officially heartbroken

This is a guest post by Kevin Long.

Image creative commons from Pixabay

Image via Pixabay (creative commons)

I am officially heartbroken. I was walking around the neighborhood with my special needs kid. Trying to come up with a way to spend more quality time together, I said, “Let’s do a song on Garage Band or something.” The kid went tense.

Me: “What’s wrong?”

Kid: [Sullen] “I don’t know.”

Me: “Rephrasing: you went tense when I said ‘lets do a song.’ What made you tense about that?”

Kid: “I’m afraid to be creative, ok?”

Me: “Why? You’re so smart and inventive and fascile.”

Kid: [Tense and sullen] “I don’t know.”

Me: “We’ll try it again: At what point did you STOP liking being creative?”

Kid: “It was ACE.”

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A readymade toolkit for institutionalised oppression

This is a guest post by Talen Lee, a former ACE student from Australia. This is his survivor story. Be warned, it contains unpleasant descriptions of corporal punishment.

If you’re a familiar reader of Jonny Scaramanga’s blog, you probably already know that the ACE system promotes false information as fact. These are glaring factual errors that honestly shouldn’t even be up for debate. When you’re talking about errors that run throughout the entire ACE system to this degree, you have to come down very hard on one side or another. Either you think it’s not acceptable to teach blatant falsehoods in an education system as facts, or you think that it is, and if you’re in the latter camp, I am comfortable dismissing everything you have to say about education at all. Bickering about  specifics like flipping mountains or universal floods or six day creationism is just trying to blow out matches while the house is on fire. I have no patience to deal with this penny-ante apologism, this horsecrap refining, where people want to argue how the precise details about some fossils may indicate a sort-of-weakness in evolutionary theory when we’re discussing a book that tries to tell me that the Loch Ness Monster is real.

There’s also a long discussion you can make about how its system is pedagogically useless. Repetition of simple exercises without complexity serves no purpose but to teach how to overcome those exercises, in the same way that memorising dates doesn’t actually make you a historian.

You could discuss the ACE system’s political indoctrination. I know that as an Australian consumer I wasn’t particularly keen on reading books that told me about how America was, in fact, the greatest nation in the world, and the only place where people were free. After all people weren’t free in America – if you wanted to buy one, you had to pay for it.

Rather than talk about the flaws in the ACE curriculum and the things it does badly, I want to talk to you about a thing the ACE system does really well. Read the rest of this entry

On “you’re just bitter” and other challenges

Over at ace-education.co.uk, there’s a post entitled “10 Questions for Jonny Scaramana“. Here are my answers.

Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 10.06.53

 

Jonny Scaramanga is infamous for his anti ACE blogs. If you Google his name then you will find his Leaving Fundamentalism site and lots more info. I am responding to some of the false information given to the media ATM.

Before we get going then, a question of my own: Please could you detail this false information? It would be useful for all sides, I think, to correct any misinformation that’s floating around. Until now, I’ve seen accusations of falsehoods flying around, but a shortage of specifics.

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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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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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