Louisiana lunacy: tens of millions to be spent on faith-based education
By BARRY DUKE - THE FREETHINKER
Added: Sat, 09 Jun 2012 18:02:02 UTC
Schools run along faith guidelines have hit the jackpot big time following Louisiana’s decision to siphon tens of millions of tax dollars out public schools and into religious institutions where only creationism will be taught.
In what is described here as “the nation’s boldest experiment in privatizing public education”, the state will pay private industry, businesses owners and church pastors to educate children.
Starting this fall, thousands of poor and middle-class kids will get vouchers covering the full cost of tuition at more than 120 private schools across Louisiana, including small, Bible-based church schools.
Said Governor Bobby Jindal, a Republican who muscled the plan through the legislature this spring over fierce objections from Democrats and teachers unions:
We are changing the way we deliver education. We are letting parents decide what’s best for their children, not government.
Jindal is a devout Catholic, and this is what he believes:
As Christians, we’re secure in the knowledge that in the Book of Life, our God wins. He gets off that cross. He beats Satan. We’re not called to be despondent. We are called to be salt and light and to be planting the seeds of the gospel.
Small religious schools, including some that are just a few years old and others that have struggled to attract tuition-paying students, are cock-a-hoop over the plan. New Living Word in Ruston is especially chuffed over the scheme, and is willing to accept the highest number of voucher students – 314.
New Living Word has a top-ranked basketball team but no library. Students spend most of the day watching TVs in bare-bones classrooms. Each lesson consists of an instructional DVD that intersperses Biblical verses with subjects such chemistry or composition.
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If the Church and the Government have their way and their ambitions are realised, the Church will become the single largest provider of schools, totally funded by the state. That means that a majority of schools may be allowed to discriminate religiously in employment, discriminate religiously in admissions, and teach curricula heavily skewed towards Christianity right across the board.