Once more, this week we’re diving into Reddit’s Ask Me Anything about ACE schools. Unlike most AMAs, where Redditors ask questions of the original poster, this thread was most notable for all the other people with experience of ACE who dived in to tell their stories.
Here are more assorted ACE comment from Reddit’s AMA on the subject. Their presence here does not mean I agree with everything they say, but it’s great to hear from other ACE students.
Every few years my parents would enroll me in some Christian school that taught either Abeka (sic?) or ACE curriculums. I hated ACE. I wanted to play and talk to other kids. It was the absolute worst education I ever had, especially the science, history, reading, writing, social studies, and math books. I was always far past the education levels for the grade I was in. My work for the day was always finished in a couple hours. It instilled in me laziness of both thought and action. You weren’t allowed to touch or come within 6 inches of touching your friends. The uniforms were uncomfortable, ugly, and unnecessary.
oh god, those stupid morality comics they put in there! I hated them too, and they were the only entertainment. My favorite character was the “bad” kid who was always misbehaving; talking bad about the teachers, untucking his shirt, smoking cigarette butts he found. Read the rest of this entry
Previously on this blog, we’ve looked at the history of spanking in Accelerated Christian Education schools and asked whether it still happens today. Sources closer to ACE than me tell me that paddling is a thing of the past in UK schools that teach the ACE curriculum. But they’re still selling spanking manuals.
Christian Education Europe (CEE) has UK contracts to distribute two ranges of products. One is ACE. The other is Growing Families International (GFI), a series of child-rearing manuals by Gary and Marie Ezzo. In preparing this post, I tried to think of a way to convey to you in a single sentence just how problematic the Ezzos’ teachings are. And I have it. But first some background.
Have you heard of James Dobson? Within the Christian Right, Dobson is a voice to rival Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell; he was particularly influential on the Reagan administration. Dobson’s books on discipline, The Strong-Willed Child and Dare to Discipline, are pretty big on spanking and other ‘creative’ punishments themselves, and you should ask some of the kids who were raised with Dobson’s methods if they think they were abusive.
So you’re in the picture. Dobson is a Christian Right advocate of authoritarian, disciplinarian parenting.
And here comes my sentence that says it all about the Ezzos:
The organisation James Dobson founded, Focus on the Family, has publicly denounced the Ezzos’ teachings.
For those of you that don’t know, Reddit is a link-sharing site which kind of doubles as a forum. One of the most popular forumy aspects is the AMA (Ask Me Anything). Users post a title such as: “I lived next door to Ian McKellan for twenty years. AMA.” Other redditors then post their questions, and the original poster (OP) replies. OPs have to supply proof of their identity to the moderators.
Reddit gets hundreds of thousands of hits per hour. The most popular posts make the front page, where they can be seen by millions.
On Monday, the following AMA hit the front page:
I am a person who from 9-15 years old attended a school that did not have any teachers, you were required to teach yourself every subject from books at your own pace, while sitting in cubicles all day with very little interaction with other students or extracurricular activities. AMA
Obviously, this was about Accelerated Christian Education. The original poster turned out to be far from the star of the show, however. She didn’t seem to have any strong opinions; she merely thought her education was an interesting oddity.
But other ACE survivors came out of the woodwork and it became packed with incredible stories. Interestingly, as I’ve found on this blog, there were very few people coming forward to defend ACE (admittedly, discussion on Reddit is dominated by liberals and atheists). You can obviously check out the entire AMA, but I’ll be posting highlights here over the next few weeks.
I’ll start with probably the most heartbreaking conversation of all.
Now before you read this: Please don’t contact the author. At the end of the conversation thread, he wrote (in response to a request that he write a book about his experience):
One day. It’s still a little too fresh. As it is I am seriously regretting what I wrote. Save your prayers for me Christians. I don’t need them. What I want is you to leave me alone.
So I’m not posting his username here with my quotes. Obviously, it would be extremely easy for you to find him and send him a message, but please respect his wishes.
Here’s the conversation:
[ACE survivor]: I went to an ACE school K-12. I’ve spent the last 15 years learning on my own what I should have learned as a child.
[Redditor]: My wife and I are in the same situation. ACE is NOT ACCEPTABLE PERIOD. It is a brainwashing tool to dumb kids down and teach them to be ignorant little Christians good for nothing except house wives and preacher boys. I’m 30 years old and I swear I still have nightmares from that school. The abuse those “teachers” (really just moms that didn’t want to be there) is unbelievable. I heard recently the school was being investigated by CFS but I don’t know if anything has come of it.
I need to write a book. It would probably help. Discapline with a paddle was the norm. Usually every Wednesday for me. 100% obedience was expected and enforced by crazy middle aged women that looking back straight up hated me. Any disobedience or even a sour look wound me up with a paddling. 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.