Creationism at publicly funded schools in Florida

06.01.2018

"Some private schools in Florida that rely on public funding teach students that dinosaurs and humans lived together," reports the Orlando Sentinel (June 1, 2018). 

The newspaper surveyed "151 private schools newly approved by the education department to take scholarships for the 2017-18 school year. Seventy[-]five of the schools provided information about their curriculum either on their website or when contacted by phone, and 30 of those, or about 40 percent, reported Abeka, BJU [Bob Jones University Press] or ACE [Advanced Christian Education] was a part of their academic offerings."

According to experts asked by the Sentinel to review the textbooks from these publishers, "[t]he most striking feature of the biology books is their focused argument against evolution, a fundamental building block of modern biology." Brandon Haught of Florida Citizens for Science said, of claims about dinosaurs in a workbook from ACE, "That was just plain-old, misguided, bad, horrible science, talking about dinosaurs and humans living together."

Concerns about the textbooks used in private schools that receive public funding have surfaced elsewhere. Writing in the Huffington Post (December 7, 2017), Rebecca Klein reported on a study that found that "many of the non-Catholic Christian schools" participating in private school choice programs were using Abeka, BJU, or ACE textbooks, which "often flout widely accepted science and historical fact."

Despite the public funding of these private schools, the Sentinel noted, "Florida law prohibits the department [of education] from asking about or regulating academics at these schools."