Ideologues trying to politicize our children’s classrooms aren’t just focused on traditional public schools. A report published today alleges that one of the largest charter school operators in Texas is using curriculum materials to indoctrinate students with anti-science and right-wing propaganda. We just sent out this press release:
The president of the Texas Freedom Network today called on the Lone Star State’s education commissioner to investigate stunning allegations about what students are learning on campuses run by one of the state’s largest public charter school operators.
An in-depth article published today by the online magazine Slate alleges that the Responsive Education Solutions charter system uses instructional materials that are riddled with factual errors, teach religious beliefs and discredited attacks on evolution in science classrooms, and promote politically biased arguments as fact in social studies classrooms. Responsive Ed, based in Lewisville near Dallas, says it operates 65 public charter school campuses in Texas, Arkansas and Indiana.
“If these allegations are true, they represent a shocking betrayal of the trust that parents and taxpayers put into our charter schools,” TFN President Kathy Miller said. “It’s imperative that the education commissioner investigate whether this charter school operator is undermining the education of thousands of students and putting the state and taxpayers at risk of expensive lawsuits.”
According to the article, science instructional materials used on Responsive Ed campuses suggest that supernatural explanations are valid scientific alternatives to evolution, declare that “God created the Heavens and the Earth,” and repeat numerous anti-evolution arguments that scientists discredited long ago.
In addition, the article notes, instructional materials for social studies present politically biased talking points as fact, such as:
- The New Deal failed to help the economy during the Great Depression.
- Feminism has led women “to turn to the state as a surrogate husband.”
- The legitimacy of Purple Hearts awarded John Kerry – the current U.S. Secretary of State and the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004 – during the Vietnam War was “suspect at best.”
- President Carter’s pardon of Vietnam War-era draft dodgers was the result of “a misguided sense of compassion.”
Other inaccuracies and distortions noted in the article include a suggestion that the Samurai – a class that had been effectively abolished in the late 1800s – pushed Japan into World War II, that 16th-century Spain was a republic (it was a monarchy), and that “anti-Christian bias” from the Enlightenment helped lead Europe into World War I.
According to Responsive Ed’s website, more than 17,000 students are enrolled on 65 campuses. According to its 2013 annual report, Responsive Ed received more than $82 million in state, federal and local funding in the fiscal year that ended August 31, 2012.