Former ACE employee turns whistleblower
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.
The Best Email Ever (Another ACE Survivor Story)
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.
Education: How to do it right
I love TED talks. I love that the best ideas from some of the best thinkers in their fields are online; it makes me optimistic that we can build a great future for humanity.
I spend a lot of time railing against Accelerated Christian Education. I feel that if you asked experts to design the worst possible education system from the ground up, they’d produce something with notable similarities to ACE. But that’s not to say mainstream education has everything right. There are lots of people who are failed by their education, and lots of talent that goes undeveloped because our schools don’t value it. I’m interested in how we can improve the situation, although my optimism is tempered by the seeming fact that every time a British politician goes near education, they make it much, much worse.
TED talks are one place with a lot of suggestions on how we can get this right.
Salman Khan suggests we use video.
If you don’t have time to watch: Khan Academy has a huge number of online video lessons. Salman suggests that teachers could assign watching these as homework, and then the assignments that would traditionally be completed as homework can be done in class, where students have access to help from the teacher and their peers. This has some appeal. I certainly find video lessons very effective for my guitar students (what, did you think I was a professional fundamentalist-basher?).
Educational Psychology vs. the Christian Right
Of all the peer-reviewed literature on the Christian Right I’ve found, Professor David Berliner’s is the most excoriating. Not for Berliner the tolerance of historians like Adam Laats. He sees the Christian Right as a malign force, and shows some clear examples why. In short: they are politically active, and they want to destroy public schools.
Berliner’s paper, “Educational Pyschology Meets the Christian Right: Differing Views of Children, Schooling, Teaching, and Learning” makes the case that the goals of the Christian Right are so far removed from most educators – and from moderate Christianity – that it is not possible to work with them in a free society. He quotes from their fear-mongering propaganda literature, which calls on parents to dismantle the public education system from within by applying to become school governors, and purposely sabotaging the schools.
“Many among the Christian right are unable to engage in politics that make a common school possible. They may be unable to compromise and live with educational decisions rejecting a pluralistic democracy keeping separate church and state… If you are of the Christian Right, to be pragmatic, to give in, to compromise, to bargain or negotiate – that is, to engage in politics – is to lose to Satan.” Read the rest of this entry
Vlog: Inside Accelerated Christian Education’s Politics
I have decided to make the radical move into vlogging. For my technophobic readers, this is video blogging. Don’t worry, I’ll still be doing written blogs too.
My experience has been that people struggle to imagine Accelerated Christian Education from mere descriptions, so I’m going to show you.
Guest Post: A Reverence for Received Knowledge
Today’s guest post is from another ACE survivor, Matthew Pocock. Matthew has a distinguished career as a synthetic biologist, and worked on the Human Genome Project. As you’ll see, though, he doesn’t think ACE deserves much of the credit. Read the rest of this entry
Christian Education Europe Responds!
Well, that was quick.
For those not playing along, last Friday I posted an open letter to Christian Education Europe. Arthur Roderick replied almost by way of post.
Here’s his letter (click to enlarge). Read the rest of this entry
Accelerated Christian Education on BBC Radio 4
In 2010 I was asked to speak to BBC Radio 4’s Sunday Programme about Accelerated Christian Education.
Here’s the segment that went out (it’s a little over five minutes long):
In case you can’t listen, I’ve transcribed the words of the three people interviewed: Me, Professor Michael Reiss, and Christian Education Europe‘s Arthur Roderick.
Is Accelerated Christian Education Individualised?
By far the strongest claim ACE can make is that their students can work at their own speed. It was this aspect of the curriculum which appealed to me and my parents and ultimately led to my attending an ACE school for over three years.
It sounds fantastic. If you’re bright, you never have to be frustrated by waiting for the rest of the class to catch up, and if you have special educational needs, you don’t have to struggle. Perfect. Even the Guardian’s Natasha Walter, in a generally damning article on ACE, writes, “What is undeniably attractive about this curriculum – even for the sceptical observer – is the way that it moves at the same pace as the child. With ACE, children are assessed on entry and progress at their own speed, working through booklets and doing the tests at the end of each one before they can move on to the next.”
There’s only one problem: It isn’t true.