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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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White supremacist home schooling

So here’s the most horrible thing I’ve found in a while: White Pride Homeschooling. I don’t even want to give their page the extra traffic, so I’m linking to an archived version of their website (from August 2014).

From their website (Warning: you are about to read racist propaganda):

The biggest increase in intermarriage has occurred in recent years, due to the social interaction of children of different races in the school room and subsequently the board room and then bedroom. In the year 2000 – 9 percent of married men and women below age 30 were intermarried, compared with 7 percent of those ages 30 to 44, 5 percent for those ages 45 to 59, and about 3 percent among those age 60 and older. Obviously school busing, the promotion of interracial marriages by “Christian” preachers, visible images in all types of media, and 12 (plus) years of social conditioning in the schools for each and every child has had a devastating effect on the racial integrity of white America.

Gotta love the use of square quotes around “Christian” in the above paragraph, because obviously true Christians are racist Christians.

Yup, this is a Christian organisation. No doubt you are wondering which curriculums they suggest parents can use without polluting the minds of their pure Aryan offspring.

In no particular order:

Bob Jones University Press

Alpha Omega (pretty much a clone of ACE, but reputedly more academically challenging)

CLASS (the Christian Liberty Academy School System, which produces a custom curriculum based on a mixture of texts from publishers including A Beka and Bob Jones)

And, of course, Lighthouse Christian Academy, which is the homeschool wing of Accelerated Christian Education.

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Will someone please sort out the Accelerated Christian Education Wiki?

The ACE Wikipedia page is not brilliant. It’s also not terrible. It’s far better than it was when I started blogging. I’m guessing whoever the recent editors were, they are readers of this blog (so many thanks), because they’ve used it quite extensively as a source. Unfortunately, blogs are not very credible, and it would be good to improve the entry with some more respectable citations.

I’d do it myself, but I’m busy enough without learning the Wikipedia code. I realise it’s not rocket science, but it’s also not absolutely straightforward for someone who’s never done any coding. I am, however, happy to help any Wikipedia editors who want advice or fact-checking.

The ACE page has been the subject of a quite entertaining edit war, which now appears to be over. There used to be a large section on criticism of ACE, and for a while there was a back-and-forth on the Talk page. The criticism of ACE by David Berliner, in particular, was repeatedly removed and re-added. By the time I started blogging, the pro-ACE wing had won and all criticism was gone from the page. These days, things are a little better, but the page needs a tidy-up. Here’s my rundown of suggested improvements.

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You might be a fundamentalist, but at least you’re not brown

Every time I publish a an article in a major outlet, there’s always a comment near the top that says the same thing: “Why are you picking on the Christians? You’re just doing it because there [sic] a soft target. No one ever criticises the Muslims.”

Now the estimable Hannah Ettinger has published an exposé on her Quiverfull upbringing at Cracked, and the same thing is happening. User LockednLoaded, at 04-28-2014, 2:11pm, writes “Fundy Muslims do far worse but criticize them and liberals lose their s**t and go all hissy fit.”

f.korambayil, 04-28-2014, 10:18 am, says:

Your muslim counterpart would be writing about actual terrors – female genitalia mutilation, forced marriages at 8 years old, not being able to go to school on account of being female, being raped and then being hung because of being an indecent female for having extramarital sex, forced to strap on suicide vests and wage jihad, etc. etc. Quit your bellyaching lemonhead.

These comments are two among dozens in the same vein. “You all — *every one of you* — know damned well why Cracked, along with almost everyone else, is too *chicken* to make fun of Islam.” 

When someone suggests these complaints might be racially motivated, the person immediately points out that Islam is not a race. Which is true. Here are some other things that aren’t races: hip-hop, Rastafarianism, immigrants. Discussion on these subjects is often racist too. The subtext for at least some of these comments is “Muslims do bad stuff too AND THEY’RE BROWN!!!!!1111″

Anyway, the idea that Muslims are given an easy ride in the press is poppycock (and I don’t see anyone deleting these people’s anti-Islam comments). In 2007, research commissioned by the London mayor’s office found that 91% of reports on Muslims were negative, portraying them as a threat to the West. When the Telegraph reported on nursery voucher funding for religious schools last month, it mentioned Islam in the headline, the subtitle, and the first sentence. It then went for a full 13 paragraphs before mentioning that there were some Christian groups getting funded too, and managed all of one sentence about Accelerated Christian Education. And, ridiculously, all it could offer was speculation about the Islamic schools, while we know exactly what ACE teaches.

Iain Duncan Smith

Britain’s most senior ACE fan

And now we hear that ministers have “launched inquiries into extremist schools“. Does this mean Accelerated Christian Education users can expect visits from the inspectors? Of course it doesn’t. This is a Muslims-only investigation. And, as it turns out, senior Conservatives have expressed support for fundamentalist Christian schools. Work and Pensions Minister Iain Duncan Smith is the patron of one.

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Even the vicar can’t stand ACE

Happy new year everyone. I hope December treated you well and you’re ready for another year of fighting the hydra that is Christian fundamentalism. I told you that this year I wanted to co-operate more with sympathetic Christians, so here’s a statement of intent: a guest post from a priest. To the kind of fundamentalists who think that baptism by sprinkling is a damnable heresy, this won’t make much difference. But to parents who are on the fence about whether to choose Accelerated Christian Education (ACE), or to those who believe that this website is simply a crusade to destroy religious freedom, I hope this will make you think twice.

Today’s post is by the Reverend Oliver Harrison, vicar at Holy Trinity Wilnecote, an Anglican church. Oliver enjoys shaving and dislikes ACE. Say hi everyone.

Oliver Harrison

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Attacking science, insulting Islam: the reality of PAC charter schools

By now you’ll have seen my Salon article about how charter schools (mostly in Texas) are promoting creationist ideas in a way that seems to violate church-state separation. There are two main curricula discussed: ResponsiveEd and Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum (PAC). Both are offshoots of Accelerated Christian Education (ACE). Of the two, ResponsiveEd seems to be used more widely, but it’s hard to get solid information about it. PAC, on the other hand, has kindly uploaded many curriculum samples to its website. What they’ve uploaded will be of great concern to campaigners for both secularism and science education. PAC lessons mock and insult Islam, promote Christianity, and attack mainstream science.

Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 11.42.32

‘Life Principle’ from PAC’s high school biology course.

A brief web search finds Paradigm Accelerated Charter Schools in Dublin, Comanche, Wallis, and Early, all in Texas. Although the Dublin school is shown as having closed or relocated (and its website now links to a page in Japanese), it was functioning at least as recently as January 2013, when last updated its page, giving the school 2 out of 10. None of these schools has its own website, so it’s hard to determine their status, but PAC markets itself as a charter school curriculum and claims its curriculum “honors the so-called ‘separation of church and state’ doctrine, thus enabling purchase of Paradigm curriculum with tax funds.” Hmmm.

PAC is run by former ACE Vice President Ronald E. Johnson, who you will remember for writing “Children matriculate into Christian school in dire need of spiritual programing of their minds to accept and desire the things of Christ.” What ‘programing’ is he offering now?

World History

The region where Europe, Asia, and Africa meet is known as the “Fertile Crescent.” Our timeline begins there about 4,000 BC when scientists agree that a cataclysmic event occurred (like a worldwide flood) that forced mankind to “start over.”

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I’m not racist, but…

Sometimes, the comment section is the best bit of this blog.

Whether it’s someone who’s received bad treatment in an ACE school going on a huge rant or an ACE supporter saying I’m a “true retard“, or someone saying, you know, something intelligent, they’re always good.

Like this, which came in yesterday morning. First, some context. This was in reply to my How ACE is Racist post. That post quotes a couple of ACE PACEs which contain some quite unjustified racial commentary. Two of the quotes (written in the 80s, when South Africa was under apartheid) argued that if black people were given the vote, the South African economy would be destroyed.

So it was a delight to read:

“So, have the blacks destroyed South Africa in the 18 years that they’ve had power? It certainly seems so! Our economy is down the tubes, our Rand is effectively worthless, no international investment thats worth mentioning, civil unrest, and so on and so on…. The government figures that are in “power” are milking the people for every cent they can in order to live a life of fatcat luxury… Starting to remind you of another country, or countries, in Africa? Many black South Africans will also tell you they lived better lives under the “Apartheid Regime”, certainly not saying that we should go back there, but then again, Einstein’s definition of insanity is; “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

My children are on the ACE program and frankly, they dont even notice any “segregation” in their learning material. ACE is certainly a whole lot better than the public “government” run schools… I dont trust what the government wants to teach my children, and the quality of education in this country today is shocking to say the least! Reminds me of an ancient joke with a punchline that goes; “give him another chance!”

Whats your REAL beef with ACE? Your blog smells of an agenda against ACE.

My 2c, from someone LIVING in South Africa with children on the ACE program.”

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ACE and Racism, Part 2

I’ve previously noted that, during the reign of apartheid in South Africa, ACE taught that the policy was justified. If the blacks got control of the economy, said ACE, they might destroy it.

I recently bought a copy of an updated PACE to see what they say now the system has fallen in South Africa.

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How Accelerated Christian Education Is Racist

ACE PACEs promote segregation. In the educational cartoons that occur throughout each PACE, students of each race attend different, segregated schools. It’s laid out in Accelerated Christian Education’s Procedures Manual I – Learning Center Essentials, even in the latest (2010) edition, pages 20-23. The PACE characters attend three different church-schools. White kids go to Highland, the blacks to Harmony, and the Asians to Heartsville. Vomit.

(You can also find the same claim made here and here.)

I can go one better. Here are examples of outright racism that appeared in my ACE schoolbooks. If you don’t believe me, I’ll happily upload scans of the relevant pages. You ready? Let’s go.

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