Federal education vouchers funding creationism curricula

Federally funded private school voucher and tax credit programs are more numerous than ever. In its School Choice Yearbook 2012-2013, the Alliance for School Choice reported that $553 million of taxpayer dollars are funding 245,854 K-12 vouchers, an average of $5,686 per student. Currently, nine states along with the District of Columbia participate in voucher programs. Along with the voucher programs, eleven states are enrolled in scholarship tax credit programs, which amount to $405 million a year. These are funds that could otherwise be used to support the education of students in these states’ public schools.

Moreover, studies show that the curricula in many of these publicly funded programs have included the teaching of creationism, including that of Rice University student Zack Kopplin, who advocates against the use of public funds to support schools that use such curricula. In a nation that values the separation of church and state, public funds should not be used to fund the teaching of religious doctrine.

The state of Florida receives the largest proportion of voucher funding, $157,602,339 serving 25,366 students. 164 of the private schools that are eligible for voucher programs included the teaching of creationism in their science curriculum. For example, one of Florida’s approved institutions, The Beverly Institute in Jacksonville, teaches curricula using materials such as, “Evidence of a flood,” “Evidence against Evolution,” and “The Evolution of Man: A Mistaken Belief.” By contrast, in 2008, Florida’s Board of Education affirmatively voted to include the teaching of evolution in public schools. They recognized that, “the scientific theory of evolution is the fundamental concept underlying all of biology.”

PFAW