The public school system of Louisiana has been getting a failing grade for some time now. That’s why Governor Bobby Jindal pushed a voucher program on his state. Considered to be the most sweeping voucher system in the country, it is costing Louisiana millions of dollars but is drawing bad reviews. Kevin Drum of Mother Jones wrote a great story about this voucher system last July. In it, he noted about the voucher movement:
“… (its Achilles heel is) its virulent opposition to holding private schools to the same standards as public schools. In some places this means not requiring students to take standardized tests at all, while in other places — like Louisiana — it means requiring the tests but not using them to evaluate how well schools are doing. In other words, they want taxpayer dollars without being accountable to taxpayers.
Let’s add to that concern the fact that the voucher schools are almost exclusively religious in nature. Basically, these are private schools being funded by public money with no standards or accountability. Part of the agenda of voucher schools – at least for the religious ones – is indoctrination. You know, brainwashing.
Part of the brainwashing is done by the text books used by voucher schools. Especially history books. The “history” in these books is so biased as to be useless, or worse, damaging. Yee-haw! Let’s teach the kids exactly what we want them to know, from our point of view, facts be damned!
John Aravosis of Americablog, has a list of examples from voucher school history books that turn the stomach. From teaching kids that the Ku Klux Klan was a benevolent, even helpful, organization to the fundie favorite of humans and dinosaurs living side-by-side, these books are loaded with patently false “history” and “science.” Which is not surprising when you look at who wrote and published these books…. oh, gee - Bob Jones University Press. I’m shocked! Shocked, I tell you!
As bad as those are, Mr. Aravosis’ disgust is focused on a passage in a book entitled America: Land I Love, an eighth-grade “history” text. In a section on “The Hippies,” the book says:
“Many young people turned to drugs and immoral lifestyles; these became known as hippies. They went without bathing, wore dirty, ragged, unconventional clothing, and deliberately broke all codes of politeness or manners.” [Source]
In the early seventies, I was a young teenager who proudly called herself a hippie. But you know, I bathed. My clothes, while unconventional to a point (elephant bells, anyone?) were always clean and whole. I was never deliberately rude – I was raised by a Southern family and they don’t do rude. I didn’t take any drugs until I was 18 and out of my parental home. But wait, there’s more!
“Rock music played an important part in the hippie movement and had great influence over the hippies. Many of the rock musicians they followed belonged to Eastern religious cults or practiced Satan worship.” [Source]
Okay now, part of that is correct – rock music did play an important part in the hippie “movement” and beyond. The music spoke about our ideals, the world we wanted to see, the things that concerned us and provided a soundtrack for us. Rock music is still very influential for me even as I enter my mid-50s. And what, exactly, is wrong with that? But the kicker is the mention of the musicians and their dabbling in Eastern religion and (gasp!) Satanism. Yes,the Beatles and a few others opened their minds with some meditation but Satan worship? Please! The use of certain symbols that the ignorant believe are associated with Satanism really have only one use: cash. Bands who used pentagrams and the like back in the day did so for the attention that it drew… and it worked, too!). Some, admittedly, used them because they didn’t really know what they meant – they just looked cool. One of my musical icons wrote a letter to the Daily Texan in 1981, addressing the whole “satanic rock” nonsense:
“As one who knows many of these “demonic figures” personally, especially some of those mentioned in the article, the idea of some of these sold-out, burnt-out, cynical, strutting peacocks being so deeply and religiously committed to anything (save their “image” and chart numbers) is also a bit of a joke… These nameless mercenaries don’t even demonstrate that kind of commitment in their music why on earth would they be bothered to go to all that trouble to put anything else into it? All they need (and care) to do is find a kind of lowest common denominator of commercial “acceptability.” Yes, you Christian crypto-fascists, it is a joke! The only problem is – you’re not laughing.” (Neil Peart, letter to Daily Texan, July 19, 1981)
It’s amazing that certain segments of the population too often interpret things they disapprove of as being, in some way, satanic. That they write this bias into books from which they teach children is probably to be expected. But that taxpayer money is going to the schools that use these books is not. It is unconstitutional and must be stopped.
T. Steelman is a life-long Liberal. She has been writing online about politics since 2007. She lives in Western Washington with her husband, daughter, 2 cats and a small herd of alpacas. How can anybody be enlightened? Truth is, after all, so poorly lit…