Has Martin Luther King lll read the textbooks?
I found it a sad spectacle on MLK weekend that the son of Dr Martin Luther King should be in Tallahassee speaking in favor of The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. I ask myself this question: does Martin Luther King lll understand that some of the schools in this program are teaching young children that slavery in America was a good thing since it brought pagan Africans to these shores where they could be baptized in Jesus’ name?
The fact is that private and religious schools receiving voucher-monies (public money) have freedom to teach what they want, to operate as they wish, to measure student achievement as they wish. Some schools use curriculum from A Beka Book created at Pensacola Christian College. Others use materials from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina. Here’s a sample of what is taught: that the earth is no more than 10,000 years old; that humans and dinosaurs existed together; that the Trail of Tears was used by God to bring many native Americans to Christ; that gay persons have no more claim to special rights than child molesters or rapists; that the goal of global environmentalists is actually to destroy the prosperity of the world’s richest nations.
I wonder whether Martin Luther King lll has read the textbooks. For example, United States History for Christian Schools (Bob Jones University Press) teaches that the majority of slave owners treated their slaves well (2nd ed.). And the students are taught that the KKK was in many communities a movement for positive reform, fighting against declining morality, and often achieving respectability by working with political leaders. (3rd ed.).
Keep in mind that you are paying for this sad substitute for education. The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program takes money that corporations would otherwise pay into the state’s general revenue fund, and diverts it to a scholarship-funding organization that hands out vouchers for private and religious schools. What began as a program capped at $50 million, has been expanded by the Legislature and will grow to $873 million by 2018-19.
Since there is no evidence that voucher schools perform any better than public schools, we should turn away from voucher schemes and insist on fulfilling the mandate in the Florida Constitution which calls for “a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools” as the “paramount duty” of the Legislature.